Greenfield and West Allis have already been busy fighting emerald ash borer

Sept. 3, 2013

While homeowners struggle to take in all the emerald ash borer information, city foresters have been readying for the inevitable reality for years.

Officials in Greenfield and West Allis knew the ash-tree-killing beetle was close enough to require action even before a local sighting was confirmed.

Since 2009, when the borer was found in Newburg, West Allis has been treating all its healthy ash trees along streets and in city parks, West Allis forester Michael Rushmer said. Furthermore, the city stopped planting ash trees in 2000 when the borer was discovered in Detroit.

Greenfield has been removing ailing ash trees that could fall victim to the borer for three years, Greenfield forester Dennis Fermenich said. Those were trees that before might have been pruned and left until they had to be taken down, he explained.

Replacing the trees has been difficult, Fermenich said — he is only able to plant 25 trees a year, given that the tree-planting budget was been cut in half last year. But he has been able to get some extra money to plant replacement trees through grants.

Currently, he is assembling data to support Greenfield starting an ash treatment program.

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