FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Indiana's NewsCenter) - Under siege from an invasive insect, 300 ash trees that line Fort Wayne's streets will soon be cut down.
Orange spray paint marks the condemned trees, many along East Washington Boulevard.
"They're all infested," explained Forestry Operations Manager Chad Tinkel. "Their current size is small enough and it makes sense to take them out now."
The ash trees are under attack from the emerald ash borer, a metallic green beetle whose worm-like larvae bore through the inside of the tree, eventually cutting of nutrients and starving the tree to death.
There are about 12,500 ash trees throughout the city. Crews plan to treat about 1,200 in hopes of saving them, the rest will either have to be removed eventually or will fall victim to the insect.
"This particular insect is very invasive. It will attack a live tree that's perfectly healthy and take it out in just one season. It's a very invasive insect and it's going to be here for quite a while," said Tinkel.
He also says 23% of the city's tree canopy is ash, which puts a great deal at risk.
Agriculture officials think the insect arrived in the United States in 2002, after stowing away on a ship from the insect's native Asia. It quickly spread through Michigan, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin. It has even been found in Maryland.
In an effort to control the spread of the ash borer, the government has quarantined states like Indiana and Ohio, banning the transport of ash wood across state lines.
Many quarantines are in effect inside those states as well. Campers are barred from transporting ash wood outside those counties, which include Allen.
For a list of infested and quarantined counties, visit the Indiana Department of Natural Resources online at http://www.in.gov/dnr/entomolo/3443.htm.
The disposal operation in Fort Wayne will cost the city $33,000. Officials say more trees will be removed and replaced in the coming years.
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