Arborists, park management gather to learn how to keep you safe in your neighborhood


One species is posing a threat to trees in parks and neighborhoods around your home.

Arborists, park management and municipal staff got together to learn about keeping their own communities and parks safe from the emerald ash borer.

The Nebraska Forest Service decided to teach those people how to manage trees in the community.

"We get a lot of economic and environmental benefits from a community forest and so we need to proactively manage those in order to keep the public safe and get the most that we can out of trees in the city," said Nebraska Forester Specialist for Nebraska Forest Service Graham Herbst.

"Risk is about uncertainty and so when you're talking about a large biological feature like a tree, identifying the variables that are reasonable to identify and practical to mitigate," said owner of Natural-Path Urban Forestry Consultants Mark Duntemann.

Especially with the presence of Emerald Ash Borer, communities need to be prepared.

"It's a beetle that feeds on the sapwood of trees right under the bark and for various reasons that makes the tree very brittle once it's dead and so it doesn't take a very significant wind event for those trees to get brittle and break and fall down. We need to be proactively taking those down," said Herbst.

Tree risk management expert Mark Duntemann said there's no need to be afraid of these risks but there is a need to recognize them before they pose a threat.

"What communities can do right now is find those ash trees in the neighborhood that are already poor condition that you can justify moving now before the beetle is already in your community," said Herbst.

According to the Nebraska Forest Service, five to 10 percent of trees in the community are ash trees.

These trees can be identified by a diamond shape pattern in the trunk.

"The potential of a branch or a tree failing and hurting someone and causing property damage. Emerald ash borer plays in to this as the ash trees die off, the risk issues become elevated," said Duntemann.

If arborists and park management work ahead, risk for these trees will be minimized.

"Towns and residents that have ash trees need to deal with the trees before they become problematic," said Duntemann.

"It's important that we have re–planting coming in behind this mortality so that we still have a robust community forest as emerald ash borer comes through," said Herbst.

If you notice an ash tree in your own yard, you can contact a certified arborist to have it removed.

For more information on who to contact for ash tree removal, click here.

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