Omaha officials proactively combat emerald ash borer

Published: Apr. 26, 2019 at 4:21 PM CDT
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City officials are commemorating Arbor Day through an effort to combat a threat killing thousands of trees.

The emerald ash borer has been in Nebraska since 2016 and has killed many trees in parks, along roads and throughout communities.

The beetle only attacks ash trees, so with every tree that is killed or removed the City of Omaha will plant a new one.

Thousands of Omaha trees are in danger of dying. John Wynn from the forestry department said that 14 percent of trees in Omaha are ash trees, so the best defense is to cut them down or treat the tree aggressively.

"We figured it's been in the city five or six years and usually when you get to the 10-year mark, the population of beetles explodes, so you can't remove trees as fast as they die," Wynn said.

The city said they are ahead of the problem and haven't seen a spike in trees dying yet.

Omaha removes about 1,000 trees a year and those ash trees are recycled to make mulch that helps with the planting of new trees.

So far, 4,000 trees have been taken down while 9,000 are still standing.