MUNSTER | Nearly 200 more ash trees infected with the emerald ash borer will be removed from town parkways this year.
The Munster Town Council recently approved spending $47,200 to remove 196 additional ash trees identified as EAB-infected by project forester Gina Darnell of Forest Resource Planning of Chesterton.
Darnell was hired in 2012 to inspect the 1,200 ash trees on public land in Munster, create a computerized tree inventory and recommend which trees should be removed. The trees have been marked with white signs throughout Munster.
According to the current contract, Erwin Tree Care Inc. of Hobart is cutting down and removing the root balls of 130 infected ash trees marked by Darnell throughout parts of Munster. That contract, for $32,655, is slated to be completed by Sept. 30.
“Erwin Tree Care Inc. has agreed to hold their prices to remove the 196 ash trees infected with EAB,” said Jim Knesek, Munster’s director of operations.
The cost of removal is based on the diameter of the tree to be taken down.
In July, Darnell re-inspected ash trees left standing in the town’s parkways and compiled the list of 196 additional trees that should be removed as quickly as possible because of their deteriorating condition.
Erwin Tree Care crews will remove these 196 trees by Dec. 31, Knesek told the council prior to the vote.
In 2012, 158 infected ash trees were removed. Darnell said that 105 trees will need to be removed in 2014.
There are 912 trees left to be monitored, Darnell said in her letter. Of those, 72 trees in parkways are being treated by residents.
An Urban Waters Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has paid for 90 native species trees that were replanted this past spring. Another 90 trees will be replanted this fall with funds provided by the same grant, for a total of $25,000.
Darnell said in her July 15 letter than the only areas she hasn’t inspected yet are in the subdivisions south of Centennial Park, including Cobblestones and Briar Creek, and in the White Oak subdivision.