Ash trees coming down across South Bend
The highest concentration of ash trees is within the downtown area and will be the most affected area for removal, according to a news release from Mayor Pete Buttiegieg.
Trees around Century Center, DoubleTree hotel, U.S. Federal Building, Trinity Tower, Pro Health, U.S. Post Office, Salvation Army and other locations in and around the downtown will be removed. Downtown-area ash trees total 108 in the public right of way, and ash trees make up roughly 6 percent of the trees in the city, the mayor’s office notes.
The emerald ash borer beetle is a highly destructive invasive species that infects ash trees. South Bend’s Forestry Division detected the beetle last fall near Keller Park, which started the removal of some ash trees, according to the news release.
The city has continued to remove ash trees throughout all city parks, and crews now are working to remove trees from Howard Park.
Once a tree has been infected, the canopy will begin to thin above infested portions of the trunk and major branches because the beetle destroys the water and nutrient-conducting tissues under the bark. One-third to one-half of the branches may die in one year. Most of the canopy will be dead within two years of when symptoms are first observed.
Quarantines are in place to prevent infested ash firewood, logs or nursery trees from being transported and starting new infestations.
Business owners have the responsibility to have any tree lawn trees removed on their own or a licensed arborist after the city forester issues a permit, according to the mayor’s office. Any business owner who wishes to trim or remove dead or dangerous tree lawn trees must request a permit from City Forester Brent Thompson, who can be reached at 574-299-4766.
Thompson told WSBT that new trees will be planted to replace the infected ash trees. The goal, he said, is to make sure no more than 15 percent of one species is used.