Worthington News

Ash borer destroys 11 trees along North High


The emerald ash borer has claimed the lives of 11 full-grown trees along North High Street in Worthington.

City crews will remove all of them during the week of Dec. 3, with the planting of 22 replacement trees set for the following week.

The ash trees, which parks and recreation director Darren Hurley called "substantial" in size, are on the west side of the street, between Larrimer and Caren avenues.

The city's arbor advisory committee has been monitoring the condition of the trees since it recognized they were infected with the borer. The committee recently decided it was time to remove the trees to keep the public safe.

The ash borer causes trees to die from the inside out. Weakened by the disease, the trees could lose limbs, even when they still look healthy.

"If we feel like they are beyond the point of no return, especially if they are a danger, we will go ahead and pull the trigger," Hurley said.

The city has lost many ash trees since the borer was discovered in Ohio in 2003, he said. An experimental treatment might have prolonged the lives of some local trees, Hurley said.

"Whether it saves trees forever, we don't know," he said.

The ash borer is an exotic beetle that is believed to have arrived in Michigan from Asia in 2002. It has killed tens of millions of ash trees nationwide.

The North High Street trees will be replaced with 22 trees to be planted on both sides of the sidewalk on both sides of North High Street. Fourteen will be oak trees, and the rest will be sugar hackberries, purple robes or black locusts.