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Thursday, April 4, 2013

City arborists receive state forestry grant to rid local ash trees of emerald ash borer pest

Contractors for the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government are expected to begin a program this spring to treat some of Fayette County’s significant ash trees for the emerald ash borer.

The city received a grant from the Kentucky Division of Forestry to treat some of the blue ash and white ash trees in the city parks with insecticide to get rid of the small exotic pest. Part of the money is also for public education.
The emerald ash borer has been responsible for the death and decline of millions of ash trees in the United States and Canada and threatens a significant number of trees in Lexington and Fayette County.
To prevent the spread of the pest, Fayette and other counties are under a quarantine that prohibits the transportation of firewood, nursery stock and other ash wood products that can spread the insect infestation.
The grant from the forestry division continues the treatment that started about two years ago to save ash trees in the parks.
The treatment involves injecting a systemic pesticide into the trunk of the tree through an intravenous system.
“If people see our contractor Big Beaver Tree Service boring holes and using the IV system on ash trees, we’re actually trying to preserve the trees,” said Urban Forester Tim Queary, who is overseeing the project.
The work will be performed as soon as the leaves start appearing on the trees, Queary said. Orange dots will be placed on the trunks of the trees that are to be treated.
“It’s a great opportunity for the city to try to preserve these old significant ash trees, some of which are more than 250 years old,” he said. “We feel like the ones we’ve identified could possibly be around for another 200 years.”
A lot of time went into identifying the trees to be treated, he said. They were checked for structural defects and other signs of aging that could result in their loss.
Ash trees to be treated include some at Castlewood Park, Douglass Park, around Bell House and Gratz Park, Woodland Park, Ecton Park, Dixie Park, Transylvania Park at East Maxwell Street and Fincastle Road at McDowell Road.
To watch a video produced by KYAfield on why Kentucky’s ash trees are dying, click

For more information about the emerald ash borer or about the treatment program, call Tim Queary at 859-258-3404.