Updated: Tuesday, 26 Feb 2013, 11:20 AM EST
Published : Monday, 25 Feb 2013, 4:26 PM EST
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) - Five-hundred once beautiful trees in Indianapolis will be cut down over the next three months. The trees were killed by an insect a little more than an inch in length.
The Emerald Ash Borer is eating its way through the once abundant stock of ash trees in Indiana.
The downed trees strewn across parts of Sahm park on the northeast side of Indianapolis had hiker Dona Taylor thinking a tornado might have swept through the area.
"I just think it's a loss to the community. I know my family enjoys the woods," she says.
It was a winter wind, that knocked the trees down. But only because the Emerald Ash Borer had been just behind the bark the past few years, feeding itself and killing the trees.
"Well I certainly was surprised and sad. I'm going to miss the trees that are taken, but I'm grateful for what's left," she says.
And this isn't an isolated case.
"We are going to be addressing about 500 trees that have been terminally affected by the Emerald Ash Borer," says Department of Public Works spokesperson Stephanie Sample.
DPW will be cutting down those hundreds of trees so spring and summer winds won't knock them down and hurt someone.
"The problem is that very little is known about how the emerald ash borer affects the strength of the wood of the trees that it infects so just to be proactive and take preventative action before we head into the spring and summer months with the wind and tornado season... we're addressing this issue now," Sample said.
Sample says Emerald Ask Borer tree isn't the only type of tree that is a potential problem to people's safety.
"Any trees in a weakened state can be a danger to commuters, to citizens especially in parkways so we try and address it as quickly as we can," Sample said. "Lookout for signage that warn you that closure areas are head. We'll also have flaggers to let you know where the detour routes are."
As a certified Arborist with Ping's Tree Service in Indianapolis, Mike Webster has been fighting the Emerald Ash Borer for years now. He found one for us on a tree in a Fishers neighborhood back in 2009.
"There appears to be hardly any dormant buds there so there's a good possibility this tree is on its way out," says Webster, standing in the yard of an Indianapolis home.
Webster says excessive woodpecker activity, a tree with dying upper branches and d-shaped exit holes on the bark are signs your tree has become infected. But if its not too bad, you can treat it.
"Usually we recommend about 70 percent of the canopy, if it's still that full or more, we usually have good success with treating the trees and able to preserve some of the tree," he says.
The best time for treating your tree is April through June says Webster. Complicating matters this year, is that Ash trees are very sensitive to drought, making them even more vulnerable than usual. And this past summer was very very dry.
If the tree in your yard is small enough, you can treat it yourself. But in most cases the ash trees are too big for over the counter products to get the job done. So, hiring a professional makes sense.
The trees the city will be cutting down are in the area of 91st and Sargeant road. Expect slowdowns in the area from now through mid-May.
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