Harrisonburg prepares to remove trees infested with invasive species

Published: Jan. 8, 2018 at 12:18 PM EST
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On January 9th, a tree removal will close the right lane of Court Square that turns onto Main Street in Harrisonburg.

There are four trees next to the Pendleton Community Bank infested with the

, and the Harrisonburg Parks & Recreation Department says this is the safest time of year for the project.

Mike Hott is the landscaper in charge of the project, and he says there are many trees in Harrisonburg that are affected.

"We're gonna pinpoint certain trees that have been infected, or infested with this borer, and we're going to keep eyes on all the other trees, and we're actually going to start treating in the spring," said Hott.

The emerald ash borer is a non-native beetle that has infested ash trees throughout Virginia. The insect’s larvae feed on the inner bark of ash trees, which disrupts the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Once the larvae are adults, they will fly to another ash tree to lay their eggs, thus repeating the cycle.

The City of Harrisonburg is working to diversify the type of trees planted in the area so that one non-native insect, like the emerald ash borer, won't wipe out the majority of trees. Since the fall of 2016, 87 new trees have been planted by the city to add more variety.

The city is also engaging in urban wood utilization.

"Basically, we're gonna utilize all of that wood back, we're not gonna just cut them down, throw them into the scrap pile and say goodbye," said Hott.

Work on removing the trees will begin at 8:00 a.m. Tuesday morning and should run for four to five hours.

If you have a tree on your property that you think might be infested, call an arborist immediately.

Emerald Ash Borers are an invasive species that have plagued the Valley in recent years, eating through ash trees and killing many of them in our area. The Shenandoah National Park considers the insect