About 60 percent of the ash trees in Springfield have been removed and the city is working to replace them with a more diverse population of trees.
The city has removed 484 of the 806 ash trees, according to Springfield Service Director Chris Moore.
It is expected to cut down 125 to 150 trees this winter, but that depends on the weather, Moore said. In the case of inclement weather, forestry workers will be plowing snow instead, he added.
“Ideally, we hope we can get them all down in the next two-and-a-half to three years,” Moore said.
They’re also working to replace those ash trees with different species, he said. Last year, the city planted about 180 trees to replace those ash trees lost by the emerald ash borer, an invasive wood-boring insect that has killed millions of ash trees across Ohio.
On Tuesday, city commissioners approved a donation from Cincinnati-based Natorp’s Landscape Supply for about 30 trees valued at about $3,000 to be planted throughout the city. The donation included several varieties of trees, Moore said.
Tree diversification is a big deal, Moore said. There are some developments that have areas with one type of tree, he said, which can cause problems.
“When one of these diseases comes through, it can be devastating to an area,” he said.
The city wants to replace each ash tree removed with another species, but it takes time, Moore said. If it places a tree near the location of a former ash tree, the city must also remove the ash tree stump. There are more than 500 stumps to remove, he said.
The city stumbles across the occasional ash tree which didn’t make its initial inventory in 2008, when the insect first appeared, he said.
“When we see it in an area, we cut every tree down,” Moore said.