- Associated Press - Friday, March 10, 2017

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) - South Sioux City plans to use ash trees felled to prevent the spread of the emerald ash borer infestation to build a cabin.

City workers cut down a dozen storm-damaged ash trees from parks and some smaller ash trees from a former tree farm in February. The removal was the first step in a city plan to cut down about 3,000 ash trees in order to prevent infestation from the insect native to Asia, the Sioux City Journal (https://bit.ly/2mb2BXN ) reported.

The project requires 35 trees to provide enough lumber for the 325-square-foot cabin expected to be built this summer at the Community Orchard. The cabin was designed by University of Nebraska students.

Adam Smith, a forest products program leader for the Nebraska Forest Service, said the cabin is a creative example for other cities disposing their ash trees.

“This project, when completed, will be a landmark for urban wood use statewide,” Smith said. “It’s something of a showcase for innovation.”

The cabin will house tools and can be used for other purposes.

“We wanted to show people you can do more with this ash wood than just cut it up for firewood,” South Sioux City parks director Gene Maffit said.

The emerald ash borer’s larvae cut off the tree’s water supply by eating the water- and nutrient-conducting tissue beneath the bark. It’s usually too late to save the tree once the beetle is found.

City council approved $20,000 last year for the 2017 budget dedicated to ash tree removal. Maffit estimated about 25 percent of the trees on city property are ash trees, and most if not all will be removed in the coming years.

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Information from: Sioux City Journal, https://www.siouxcityjournal.com

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