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The original item was published from 12/6/2016 4:43:19 PM to 2/23/2017 12:00:04 AM.

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Posted on: January 25, 2017

[ARCHIVED] Third Time’s a Charm for Urban Forestry Lessons Learned; Why There are Fewer Maples in City Projects

In the 1980’s, the City lost many of its trees to Dutch Elm Disease. Now we’re gearing up for major tree losses due to Emerald Ash Borer. When planning for the future, diversity is key in urban forestry. Follow the link to learn more…

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There was a time in much of America when elm trees lined the streets, creating  beautiful, shady, arched canopies over our roadways.  Then Dutch Elm Disease came through and decimated our streetscape.  How did we recover?  We planted ash trees in their place.  Now that we are on a course to lose many of those to Emerald Ash Borer, it is time to reassess our strategy for planting trees. 

One thing we’ve learned, diversity is key.  Having a large variety of tree species helps to reduce the impact of tree diseases; tree disease transmission is slower and individual tree losses are less noticeable.  

What will the next major tree disease be?  We don’t know, but we do have cause to be concerned about our maples.  First, there have been some outbreaks of Asian Longhorned Beetle on the east coast; one of its preferred host trees are maples, and there is no way to control the insect without removing the tree.  Second, we have lots…and lots…and lots of maples.  If a tree disease that affects maples were to hit us, we would see a third wave of devastation.

That is why the City will begin moving away from using maples in City projects.  But the strategy of increasing diversity does not apply to maples alone.  Other tree species, such as Colorado Blue Spruce and Japanese Tree Lilac, are also very prevalent in the landscape.  Expect to see a rotation of different tree species in the tree sale and used on City property from now on.  A forest with lots of variety is a healthy one.

Learn More About Forest Pests Here…
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