HUDSON: Parts of state Route 91 are being reduced to one lane this week as crews take down about 100 dead and dying ash trees infected with the emerald ash borer.
The work could continue into Monday, city spokeswoman Jody Roberts said.
The trees are a fraction of those the city expects to remove in the next five years.
“Our priority is trees that are completely dead and may fall into a road or a house, and the second priority is dying trees that are large in diameter,” she said. “Our third priority are trees along roadways that have heavy traffic.”
Up to five teams from Asplundh Tree Expert Co. have been working to remove the roadside trees as well as some in nearby wooded areas.
More than 125 trees were taken down last year, and another 950 trees have been targeted for future removal, Roberts said.
“That’s just an estimate of what is in the right-of-way and the trees we can see,” she said. “We’re not taking down trees in the middle of a park that won’t fall on anything.”
The city has received $46,100 in state and federal matching grants. The City Council has been putting aside $52,000 a year to pay for the work.
Ash trees were a favorite of city planners and developers for years — Hudson even has a street named Ashbrooke Way — so many communities have been hit hard by the pest that has been marching through Ohio.
There is no practical way to stop the beetle. The borer invades a tree from the top and remains hidden inside the bark for most of the year, so the tree’s fate is sealed long before any symptoms show.
Only when larvae mature and adults bore their way out of the tree are telltale signs of D-shaped exit holes visible. By then, the tree is doomed.
Some experts have suggested that ash trees will become extinct in Ohio.
City officials are encouraging homeowners to take down ash trees on their property before the trees are dead, as dead trees are more expensive to remove because there is increased risk to removal crews. Roberts also suggested budget-minded residents have the work done in the winter, as tree companies might discount their prices in the offseason.
Hudson has plans to replace some of the trees with a large variety of species.
“Our philosophy now is to diversify, so if one species is attacked, it won’t affect all the trees again,” Roberts said.