Poughkeepsie Mayor Rob Rolison announced today that the City will be undertaking a tree felling program to remove ash trees that have been killed by Emerald Ash Borer infestations. He described Poughkeepsie as, “a proud Tree City USA. We have initiated a tree maintenance and restoration program to keep our trees healthy and beautiful. First, however, we must manage Emerald Ash Borer, which has severely impacted many of our city’s 400 ash trees, with 50 trees being identified as needing removal.”
The decision to deal with the Emerald Ash Borer infestation, or EAB, came, said Rolison, “after City officials worked closely with members of the Poughkeepsie Shade Tree Commission and the Environmental Cooperative at Vassar Barns to take a comprehensive approach to the management of this major city asset. Our trees are both visually beautiful and significantly contribute to the quality of life of our population.” The City has produced a short informational video to update the public about the EAB infestation and the steps being taken which can be viewed at http://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/shade-tree-commission/eab
Ash Borer Infestation a Nationwide Problem
The first United States sighting of the Emerald Ash Borer also known as the EAB – was in Detroit in 2002 and infestations of this tiny bright green beetle and its ugly and destructive little grub have caused thousands of trees to die in many areas in the country. Ash tree damage is widespread in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, through the southern states, Midwest and Canada. An invasive species that likely found its way into our country in packing materials from Asia, according to Jennifer Rubbo from Vassar Barns, “EAB is very difficult to detect until it is too late.” Virginia Hancock, Chair of the Shade Tree Commission advised that city residents should not burn infested ash wood or move it: “Letting the City handle the wood and safely dispose of it, will help protect other ash trees.”
Interactive Map Highlights Ash Tree Locations
City residents can use an interactive map on the City of Poughkeepsie website at the link: http://cityofpoughkeepsie.com/shade-tree-commission/eab to see which trees are scheduled for cutting. The trees marked red have already died and need to be removed as trees infected by EAB deteriorate more quickly than normal. Trees on the map are classified as EAB-infested, with some showing symptoms of EAB and others showing no apparent symptoms. Student interns from Vassar Barns will mark the trees due to be cut down with ribbons and postcards. Residents who wish to determine if they have ash trees or emerald ash borer in those trees on their property may consult the web page for tips on identifying ash trees and ash borer damage. It is the homeowner’s responsibility to remove affected trees and the wood should not be used in order to reduce the risk of spreading EAB.
Tree Restoration Program Planned
Mayor Rolison announced that beginning in Fall 2018 the city will begin to implement an ongoing tree inventory and management plan through a grant program by the DEC, saying “we are applying for grant funding for this important program.” Virginia Hancock, Chair of the Poughkeepsie Shade Tree Commission said: “the last City Street Tree inventory was conducted in 2006 and is in need of updating.”
Mayor Rolison expressed his gratitude to Vassar Environmental Collective and the members of the Shade Tree Commission for their volunteerism, “collaborative efforts are the key to successful outcomes. Now we will do our part by implementing a six-year tree management plan which will include new plantings and more timely care for all our City’s trees.”
This project has been funded in part by a grant from the New York State Environmental Protection Fund through the Hudson River Estuary Program of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.