Last updated: September 06. 2013 5:53PM - 27 Views

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KATE LIEBERS

Staff Writer

Delaware City is inviting residents to help expedite the removal of several hundred dead trees, many of which have been infested by emerald ash borer.

“The interest in (the program) has become more acute since the emerald ash borer infestation,” said city spokesperson Lee Yoakum. “There was a greater number of dead trees in street lawns that residents were more anxious and more willing to replace.”

Of the city’s 14,000 trees, about 800 are marked for removal, according to Yoakum. About 100 trees have been extracted this year, he added.

It is the city’s responsibility to remove the dead trees on the streets and other public property, but the process is limited by the city’s budget, Yoakum said.

Through the city’s annual cost-share program, however, residents can voluntarily supply $125 to replace a felled tree.

Eligible property owners include those with a dead tree, no tree, or where a tree already has been removed but not replaced, Yoakum said.

Participants split the costs with the city 50-50, said Yoakum. The $125 fee for residents covers the purchase of each 3/4-inch tree; the city pays to plant, maintain and, if necessary, remove the trees.

Participants could also choose which type of tree is planted in place of the felled tree. Yoakum said the city has a list of suitable species, depending on the neighborhood’s landscape.

Last year, the city spent about $14,200 on tree removals and about $17,100 on tree plantings, Yoakum said, and about $9,950 was spent on tree pruning.

Most of these dollars were spent on emerald ash borer-related damages, Yoakum added.

The city has received some financial assistance through various grants, such as one from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. This grant covers the cost of removing 100 ash trees and replace them with about 70 trees of a different species, Yoakum said.

Ohio has more than 3.8 billion ash trees, according to the Ohio Department of Agriculture.

Since 2003, when emerald ash borer damage was reported in Ohio, the insects have killed tens of millions of these trees, according to EmeraldAshBorer.info.

Ohio was the first state in the nation to report emerald ash borer damage, and the damage has continued to spread.

The entire state is currently under United States Department of Agriculture’s quarantine, which forbids the transfer of ash tree materials or hardwood firewood across state borders.

For more information about how to detect emerald ash borer damage, visit the Emerald Ash Borer Program page on the Ohio Department of Agriculture’s website at http://www.agri.ohio.gov.

For more information about Delaware’s cost-share program, contact the Parks and Recreation Department at 740-203-1450 or dtidd@delawareohio.net.

The deadline to participate in the Delaware cost-share program is Aug. 19.

kliebers@delgazette.com

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