A federal grant to remove and replace ash trees killed by the emerald ash borer will unfortunately be put to use by Upper Arlington.

A federal grant to remove and replace ash trees killed by the emerald ash borer will unfortunately be put to use by Upper Arlington.

"I expect we'll see the first dead trees at the end of this summer," said Steve Cothrel, superintendent of Parks and Forestry for the city. "We know (EAB) is present in every neighborhood in Arlington."

The $16,875 awarded to UA will be used to remove and replace 75 of its ash trees, Cothrel said. A list of trees will be put together by the end of spring, they'll be removed in the summer, the stumps will be ground in the fall and a variety of replacement trees will be planted in November.

Upper Arlington was one of 29 communities in Ohio named this month to receive a one-time allocation through the Ash Removal and Canopy Restoration Grant program provided by the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service.

According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources' Division of Forestry, "Grants, which require a 50-percent local match, will help EAB-affected communities remove hazardous ash trees, as well as help assist in the restoration of lost canopy cover."

"Most communities don't have it in their budget to take down a lot of trees at one time," said Drew Todd, ODNR urban forestry coordinator.

The emerald ash borer is a green beetle that came from Asia, Todd said. The hard-to-detect invasive pest was discovered in the Detroit area in 2001, but had probably been here 15 years. It has spread east to New York, south to Tennessee, and is west of the Mississippi in Minnesota, Iowa and Missouri.

The borer first appeared in Ohio in 2003, and by 2009, the east and west sides of Arlington were infested.

"It only affects North American species of ash trees," Todd said. "It's deadly to all species."

The insect is to the ash, a common tree in Ohio, what Dutch elm disease and chestnut blight are to those trees.

"The adults - the shiny little green guys - exist for a brief time in the summer," Cothrel said. "It's the larvae that are killing the trees by chewing the layer right under the bark that transports water and nutrients down to the roots.

"They're essentially severing the tree's plumbing system, which causes the root system to die, because none of the nutrients generated by photosynthesis are getting down to the root system," he explained. "The root system starves to death, which is why it takes two to three years to die, but once that plumbing system is disconnected, the tree is a goner."

Homeowners can treat their ash trees with insecticides that need to be applied annually or every other year.

"If you have a valuable tree and you're thinking about treating it, the best advice is to begin treating it before it's infested," Cothrel said. "The tree and landscape companies that are offering treatments are still having pretty good success if the infestation is caught in the first year of the cycle. But if you wait until the end of the second year that a tree's infested, the damage is already pretty severe, and your chances of success go way down."

However, it can be cost prohibitive for a municipality to continuously treat all of its ash trees.

"The city is actually treating a couple dozen trees that are memorial and commemorative specimens," Cothrel said. "They were donated over the years. We'll have a few token ash trees in our parks, but they'll be rare. They'll only be there as long as we keep treating them."

Another problem is that once the trees are gone, the Asian honeysuckle will take over. This shrub is hard to eradicate, and it deters other plant life from growing.

"The real take-home message is that EAB is more serious this year," Cothrel said. "If you're not treating the ashes you want to save by the end of this spring, it may be too late in many neighborhoods. That's the point we're at in Upper Arlington."