New Haven replanting block devastated by insect infestation

7.28 emerald ash borer


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Dozens of New Haven trees have had to come down in the past few months due to an insect infestation. Wednesday, however, there was some replanting going on.

As of about 8 o’clock this morning, there was something growing on Artizan Street once again. The entire block had gone months as a barren landscape.

“We are planting cherry trees and tree lilac trees along this street,” explained Katie Beechem of the Urban Resources Initiative. “Both are gorgeous, summer flowering trees that are going to add a nice color.”

The color green all but disappeared from this street last July. Notices went up telling residents almost every tree had to come down. They were all ash trees, and they had been infected by an invasive asian insect called the emerald ash borer.

“The little baby bug, the larvae, they get inside the bark and eat that live part of the bark that connects the roots of the tree to the leaves of the tree, so it effectively strangles the tree,” Beechem explained.

That’s why, in August, the chainsaws came, removing every ash tree on the block. It is a common problem in northeast cities, because there are so many ash trees around. When the ash borer comes to town, however, it doubles the number of trees in infects every year.

“Chances are, if you’re starting to notice problems with the tree, if the crown’s dying back, for instance, less than half the tree has leaves, chances are it’s a problem involving the emerald ash borer,” said Beechem.

If you catch the infestation early enough, there are chemical treatments, but you have to keep applying the chemicals. In New Haven, crews had to replace them. Fortunately, the city works with a group out of Yale called the Urban Resources Initiative, and EMERGE, a group that hires folks who have recently been incarcerated. Together they are bringing life back to Artizan Street.

If you suspect Emerald Ash Borer, contact Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station at-203-974-8600. You can also find resources on the Emerald Ash Borer at URI headquarters at 301 Prospect Street, First Floor, New Haven, CT 06511.

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