Metro Parks responding to Emerald Ash Borer infestation

September 20, 2016

Metro Parks and Recreation has identified approximately 50 ash trees that are dead or dying along city parkways due to the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer that are being removed by crews from the Metro Parks forestry division and the Bob Ray tree removal company.

According to officials, tree removal will continue throughout fall 2016. The work is taking place along Algonquin, Eastern, Northwestern, Southern and Southwestern parkways. Please be aware of crews while traveling through those areas. The work may result in some traffic delays and minor lane closures.

The routes mentioned above, along with Cherokee, make up Louisville’s Olmsted-designed parkways system. The system was created and conceived by the design firm of noted landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted in the 1890s as a way to connect the city to its historic parks system and encompasses nearly 15 miles of paved roadways.  

Forestry officials estimate that ash trees made up almost 13 percent of the canopy along the Olmsted Parkways and in the Metro Parks system prior to 2010, when the pest was first discovered. The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was introduced to North America from Asia in the 1990’s and  is a threat to all North American Ash trees. 

Please view the video above for more information on Metro Parks and Recreation's efforts to combat tree loss due to the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. 

Since its discovery, EAB has:

  • Killed hundreds of millions of ash trees in North America.
     
  • Caused regulatory agencies and the USDA to enforce quarantines and fines to prevent potentially infested ash trees, logs or hardwood firewood from moving out of areas where EAB occurs.
     
  • Cost municipalities, property owners, nursery operators and forest products industries hundreds of millions of dollars. (info courtesy http://www.emeraldashborer.info/

During the last six years the canopy has seen a five percent loss due to ash mortality. (Currently 8.28%) Metro Parks’ Forestry Department expects most of the majority of Ash trees to succumb to EAB. 

The presence of the Ash Borer along the parkways is pervasive, however, only trees deemed unsalvageable and unsafe are being removed. Approximately 150 trees have been removed from the Olmsted Parkways during the last three years, and trees that are removed are immediately replaced.