Ash Tree Replacement Program

Ash Tree

Did you know that the Village of Shorewood has over 6,200 street trees? Or that about 25% of those are threatened by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)? The Village began planning for an EAB infestation in 2009. The beetle has been found in communities to the north, west and south of Shorewood. In 2016, EAB was confirmed in a privately owned tree in the northeast area of the Village. 

Shorewood began an ash tree treatment program in 2010, utilizing a trunk-injected compound that has been shown to have 99% EAB control. Each year, the Department of Public Works (DPW) forestry staff identifies 200 to 300 of the Village’s largest ash trees for treatment, which is needed every 2 to 3 years. Since 2014, Shorewood’s fight against EAB has also included the removal and replacement of selected ash trees in conjunction with major infrastructure improvement projects; in 2018 this will include the Wilson Drive Reconstruction program.

The policy adopted by the Village Board calls for the removal of any ash tree with a condition rating of less than 50% (fair or poor). Additionally, all European and green ash trees, regardless of condition, with a diameter breast height (DBH) of less than 24 inches will be replaced. European and/or green ash larger than 24 DBH in good or very good condition will be treated as a part of the Village’s annual ash injection program. White ash in good or very good condition will not be removed as recent studies indicate they may show more resistance to EAB than other ash varieties.

Why is this program necessary?

It is estimated that more than 50 million ash trees are dead or dying throughout the Midwest due to the emerald ash borer. EAB has been detected in communities in Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Washington, Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties. A proactive approach to target the pest will minimize the economic, aesthetic and ecological impacts of an Emerald Ash Borer infestation on the Village of Shorewood.

Why are only ash trees being removed?

The emerald ash borer, a beetle native to East Asia, feeds only on ash trees. Once the pest attacks, it typically kills the host tree within 2 to 4 years.

If trunk injection is so successful, why don’t you treat all ash trees?

Treatment of ash trees is just one tool in the fight against EAB. And while very effective, it is not without cost. Injections are required every 2 to 3 years. It is far more cost effective to replace the smaller trees with other species and further diversify our urban forest. The chemical treatments are being used as a strategy to manage the ash population’s decline over a longer time period in order to minimize, to the extent possible, the effect of an infestation on Village resources.

How will I know if my street tree is an ash tree selected for replacement?

Prior to the start of the larger construction project, every ash tree identified for replacement will be clearly marked. Additionally, the adjacent property owner/resident will receive a door-hanger notification about the program.

When will my tree be replaced?

If the street tree adjacent to your residence has been identified for replacement under this program, the tree will be removed in the earliest stages of the construction project. The replacement tree will be planted in the latter stages of the project with the other landscape restoration work.

What type of tree will be planted as a replacement? Can I choose the species?

Our trained forestry staff has identified eighteen different species as replacement trees. In most cases, a specific tree has been selected for each site identified based on that site’s individual characteristics. However, if you are interested in the options, please contact our office and we will do our best to accommodate your request.

Toledo, Ohio. Left: Before Emerald Ash Borer Damage June 2006. Right: Peak Emerald Ash Borer Damage June 2009.

Toledo Ash Tree Damage Before and After

How can I find out more?

Please see the web resources below for more information:

For more information on Shorewood’s EAB program, please visit Shorewood's Department of Public Works page or call the DPW at 414.847.2650.