BY RICH CHRISTIANSON
It only represents one paragraph of a 14-page document, yet it’s encouraging to see that the City of Duluth, MN, incorporated urban wood utilization in its Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan originated in July 2015 and finalized in November 2016.
That one small yet significant paragraph reads: “After all bark including ½ inch of sapwood is removed from ash, the wood can be used for lumber. This lumber could be used for park projects including mulching, constructing benches, playground equipment, etc. If ash mulch is to be used, the chips must be chipped at no greater than 1” X 1” in two dimensions.”
Duluth officials started crafting the EAB management knowing that it was just a matter of time before the deadly beetle would invade the area. The first confirmation that the EAB had arrived was in St. Louis County in October 2015.
The ultimate death toll of ash trees in Minnesota is expected to be huge. As the introduction of the management plant notes, “According to the Minnesota Department of Agriculture, Minnesota has the highest volume of ash trees in the U.S. with almost a billion forestland and urban ash trees. Duluth has about 2,404 boulevard ash trees alone, not including park or privately owned ash.”
Key topics of Duluth’s EAB management plan include:
- Monitoring and Inspection
- Insecticide Use
- Community Outreach
- Ash Tree Removal
- Ash Wood Disposal
- Reforestation and Canopy Replacement
- Biological Control
I am constantly amazed that many of the municipal urban forestry plans I skim through focus on tree planting, maintenance and disposal without even a mention of wood utilization. I’d be very interested to learn of other cities that like Duluth that have enacted community tree management plans that actively promote a second life for its ash trees as mulch and lumber.
Drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.