News From Terre Haute, Indiana

March 1, 2013

Tree Advisory Board, city working on EAB plans

Arthur Foulkes
The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — City officials are hoping to produce a public list of contractors to remove or treat insect-infected ash trees in Terre Haute.

The emerald ash borer, an insect that kills ash trees, has been confirmed in the area. The city’s Tree Advisory Board, a volunteer body appointed by elected officials, has endorsed the idea of making a public list available of those qualified — licensed, bonded and insured — to remove or treat infected trees.

Such a list would be available on the city’s website, www.terrehaute.in.gov, said Sheryle Dell, Terre Haute’s urban forester.

“It’s going to be a huge problem,” Dell said of the ash borer.

There are approximately 1,300 ash trees in the city’s tree rows — between streets and sidewalks — that will need attention, Dell told the board Thursday morning in City Hall. That doesn’t even include the ash trees in city-owned parks, cemeteries or other areas.

Ash trees growing on private property are outside the city’s jurisdiction, Dell said. However, a list of qualified tree contractors would still provide a public service, board members stated.

The adult emerald ash borer is dark metallic green in color, about a half-inch long and one-eighth inch wide. The bug destroys the water- and nutrient-conducting tissues under the tree’s bark.

It is possible to chemically treat ash trees, Dell noted. Treating a tree, over a period of several years, can be far less expensive than cutting one down, according to Cliff Sadof, a Purdue University entomology professor who identified EAB larvae in Terre Haute in mid-February.

A homeowner who wants to report a problem tree or with a question about their trees can call the city’s 3-1-1 Citizen Contact Center to request assistance. (Dial 812-244-2311 or simply 311.)

• Also Thursday, the Tree Advisory Board, which consists of three voting members (two appointed by the mayor and one by the City Council) and four nonvoting members, discussed possible revisions to the city’s tree ordinance. The revisions could clarify what trees can be planted in the tree rows. The board, at Dell’s suggestion, also discussed possible changes in the overall makeup of the board, which currently includes several city officials in nonvoting roles. No final decision was made at the one-hour meeting.

The Tree Advisory Board will next meet at 2 p.m. March 21 in the third floor conference room of City Hall.

Reporter Arthur Foulkes can be reached at 812-231-4232 or arthur.foulkes@tribstar.com.