By Dedra Cordle
While looking at the trees around her home in the village of Urbancrest, Veronica Shepherd noticed that many of them were looking sick.
She asked her neighbor if their lack of vibrancy was caused by the harsh winter and he told her that it was likely caused by the emerald ash borer. She said she was shocked by his statement.
“I just never thought that it would be here in our village, having a smorgasbord on our trees,” said Shepherd.
She contacted the village mayor, Joseph Barnes Sr., and he invited a representative with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources to come out and investigate.
Lisa Bowers did a sweep of the community and gave them the news.
“She told us that we had a very bad case of (ash borer infestation) in the village,” said Shepherd.
The infestation is not isolated to a specific area, but rather has spread throughout the community.
Christine Bailey, who along with Shepherd is a village council member, said it has affected her yard.
“I just had to have an ash tree that was over my shed removed,” she said.
Bailey debated whether to have it removed, but said the threat of another harsh winter is what prompted her to act.
Jodee Lowe, an urban forester with the city of Grove City, said having dead ash trees removed is a smart choice.
“As the ash trees die, they become more fragile so the sooner they are taken down the better.”
Lowe recommended that residents who want to have their ash trees removed get three quotes from insured and bonded tree care companies. She also said that residents who could safely cut down their own trees could dispose of the lumber at Com-Til Compost Facility free of charge.
The emerald ash borer made its presence known in Grove City in 2009. SInce then, the city has had to cut down more than 1,700 trees. Lowe said entire streets had their ash trees removed because they were infected.
Shepherd worries they might have to do the same in the village and said she is very upset by the invasion.
“They (the trees) were very happy with us and we were happy with them and then the beetle came to us,” she said.
Shepherd said this ordeal has given her a new perspective on the trees, especially since Bowers told her the village has a lot of tree diversity.
“We have rare trees in the village and they need to be cradled and nurtured.”
While the village can do nothing for the ash trees beyond removing those in the right-of-way, (the council has spoken about forming an environmental committee) Shepherd said she hopes more people will have an appreciation for the trees that remain.