Ash tree removal in La Crosse nears completion

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) 00 Soon one species of tree will no longer be seen on city land in La Crosse.

City officials say they are in the final round of their ash tree removal project.

"Right now we have 310 ash trees still standing. Those are in the process right now of being cut down," said Parks and Forestry Supervisor Dan Trussoni.

After the arrival of the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive bug that invades and kills ash trees, the city decided to remove all of those trees.

The city of La Crosse started removing ash trees in the parks and boulevards six years ago.

"We feel that we've done a great job, you know timely job getting out in front of this and taking care of hazard trees throughout the city and we haven't had any major injuries. We've had a few damages to property but that's to be expected and I think we'd have a lot more if we didn't take care of it the way we did," said Trussoni.

What started out with 6,500 ash trees scattered around the city is now down to just over 300.

"As soon as those are cut down, that will be the final removal. We'll still have to stump those and then the replacement and replanting of trees is going to go on for a few years yet to try and tackle this whole project," said Trussoni.

For each ash tree that is cut down, city officials say they want to plant a new tree while using a wide variety of species.

"For example last spring we planted nearly, or this spring I should say, we planted nearly 400 trees and of those 400 trees there were 15 different species planted. The reason behind that is to avoid a situation like this in the future," said Trussoni.

Trussoni says the ash trees that are removed are recycled and used mostly as chipping in local parks.

The removal of the trees, which has cost over $1 million, is expected to be finished by the end of August.

Officials say there are still some ash trees on private property, and encourage the removal of those as well before they potentially die and get harder to remove.

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