- Associated Press - Sunday, September 27, 2015

SOMERS, Wis. (AP) - Kenosha County plans to cut down more than 2,600 ash trees because of damage from the invasive emerald ash borer.

The trees are located at four county parks and golf courses, the Kenosha News (https://bit.ly/1KNLyjo ) reported.

Jonathan Rudie, the county’s general manager of park operations, acknowledges that’s “a lot of trees.”

But Rudie said, “We did the calculations and treating the trees with pesticides is a cycle you’ll never get off of. When you come down to the cost to remove and replace, you are further ahead.”

Rudie said the southeastern Wisconsin county has secured a contract with an Oshkosh-based logging company, Koerner Forest Products, to do the job for about $17 to $29 per tree. That’s much less expensive than upward of $500 per tree a tree-removal firm might charge.

The $78,000 contract allows the contractor to sell the logs for lumber and the branches for pulpwood. Rudie said the county hopes to sell the rest to a power plant as biomass fuel, which would help offset the cost.

Rudie said the damaged trees are a public safety hazard, so the contractor is going to remove trees located within 60 feet of lawn areas or park trails.

The effort pleases Terry and Candy Easter of Kenosha, who do daily walks through the Petrifying Springs Park, where 720 trees are marked for removal.

“You can see where the trees blow over,” Terry Easter said. “If someone walks past there, it could be a problem. You hate to see them cut them down, but if they are infected and dangerous, then take them out.”

The county effort is expected to start this winter when the ground is frozen and heavy logging equipment will be on more solid ground. The trees will then be replaced with 18 varieties of species native to the region.


Information from: Kenosha News, https://www.kenoshanews.com

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