If you’ve visited Lakewood recently, you probably noticed trees that have green markings or crews at work removing trees from our grounds. Lakewood’s tree canopy is undergoing some changes. Many of our ash trees have been marked for removal by the Minneapolis Park Board due to an invasive beetle called the emerald ash borer (EAB).
The Emerald Ash Borer Is a Significant Threat
In the last two decades, ash trees all over the Eastern and Midwestern United States have become infested with EAB, which is deadly to ash trees. The beetle’s larvae live in the bark of the trees, where they create tunnels. These tunnels disrupt the flow of water and nutrients throughout the tree, which causes the tree to die.
EAB came to the US nearly two decades ago on shipping containers from China. In China, the beetle isn’t typically deadly, but the US’s ash trees haven’t evolved to handle the beetle’s harmful burrowing. The beetle was first discovered in Minnesota in 2009, and it has spread quickly in recent years. Learn more about EAB from the Minnesota Department of Agriculture.
Minneapolis’ Proactive Approach
To help manage the devastating effects of EAB and ensure the safety of citizens, the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board has mandated the proactive removal of thousands of ash trees on public and private property throughout Minneapolis. Hundreds of ash trees here at Lakewood are among the trees that must be removed. Learn more about the Park Board’s approach to EAB.
More than one in five trees in the city of Minneapolis are ash trees. Lakewood, which has roughly 3,000 total trees, has a similar concentration of ash trees. In 2018-2019, we removed about 120 EAB-infested ash trees marked by the Park Board, and we are currently removing an additional 279 this winter. We will likely be removing more in 2021.
Strengthening The Biodiversity of Our Urban Forest
As with any forest, the trees at Lakewood are in a constant state of change. Storm damage, fires, disease and pests are all part of the natural cycle and rhythm of an urban forest.
While we are sad to lose these trees, we are also optimistic about the opportunity to plant new and more diverse tree species at Lakewood. As our climate changes and new tree diseases emerge or migrate here, our trees will continue to face new threats. Planting a biodiverse woodland is key to both a beautiful setting and a resilient landscape.
Replacing the Ash Trees
We are working to develop a plan that replaces as many ash trees as possible with a beautiful variety of new trees. Several factors affect how many trees we can replace, how quickly we can replace them, and where we can plant the new trees. We have to consider the size of the removed tree, the complexity of the old and new trees’ root systems, the layout of our underground water systems, and the proximity of the trees to gravesites, among other factors. This planning — and planting — will take place over several years.
Funding the Removal and Replacement
Lakewood has about 700 ash trees, and most, if not all, will need to be removed. As a nonprofit organization, Lakewood invest proceeds in a perpetual care fund to support the long-term maintenance of Lakewood's grounds and buildings. However, because this is a large expense outside of regular maintenance, we are seeking out and applying for grants, and we’re working on opportunities for families and the community to help sponsor new tree plantings.
What Can You Expect?
Over the next two years, you will see the most ash trees removed from Lakewood’s landscape, and then we expect tree removal to slow.
Tree crews will work to remove trees mainly in the winter when the ground is frozen and the risk of damage to our landscape during removal is low. Clean-up, however, could extend into the early spring. Branches and tree remnants will be disposed of according to Minnesota Department of Agriculture standards.
We appreciate your patience and support as we undergo this necessary work. We'll keep families and visitors up to date with developments via this website and information at our main office. Direct any questions to us at email@example.com or call 612-822-2171.
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