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March 21, 2019
This paid piece is sponsored by Aspen Arboriculture Solutions.
By Sam Kezar, owner, Aspen Arboriculture Solutions
The confirmation of emerald ash borer, or EAB, in Sioux Falls in 2018 brought with it a lot of questions and concerns about the future of Sioux Falls’ urban forest. This article is a snapshot of a more comprehensive article that can be found on my How’s Your Aspen? blog.
A beautiful tree-lined street. How do you deal with a situation like this if you knew they all were going to die within six to eight years? We can help you with that.
The following list is the pertinent facts I feel lend to give this very poor to almost failing grade of the Sioux Falls urban forest coming into 2019:
Everyone who owns a tree has some partial blame. Blame is a strong word, but we need to realize we planted ourselves into this mess. We all need to work together to change the current status quo and increase the diversity within the landscape.
Remember the ice storm of 2013? Emerald ash borer is going to make the ice storm look like paper cut when compared to open-heart surgery, both in loss of trees and costs.
Sioux Falls businesses will have to invest a lot of extra money into dealing with ash trees than they ever have. And I don’t think this will just be held to those companies that have large green areas. Even small storefronts likely have ash and will be forced with a decision.
Additionally, ash killed from EAB get very brittle and hazardous. Ash trees dead for more than one year usually just fall over. This will created a huge public safety risk. If a business has ash trees, they need to come up with a plan soon, not once the trees start to die or have died.
Finally, none of this takes into consideration the indirect costs:
It is not all doom and gloom. Fortunately, the outlook is brighter. It doesn’t mean we won’t be in for big challenges, but it sure looks like this is going to be a great opportunity for us to make the Sioux Falls urban forest great. Here is a short list of the things in the pipeline the state and city are doing to make our urban forest better:
As I mentioned above the cost of dealing with this issue is going to be the biggest challenge. The direct costs combined with the indirect losses are going to add up. Storefront businesses, parking lots and green spaces will lose shade, wind protection and beautification.
Businesses with large green areas will have a lot of expenses and work. They also have the best opportunity to show how they are going to make their landscapes more resilient and beneficial for the future.
The small storefronts are going to get hit the hardest. Chances are they have an ash or several ash trees. Remove them all and it’ll be huge concrete jungle that can deter customers and make that trip in from the parking lot less desirable. Treat them all and it’s a huge added expense.
Most importantly, the largest challenge is going to be replanting in those harsh areas. Trees do not thrive in parking islands or surrounded by concrete. Even the ash that are there struggle. They are tough trees, and that’s one of the reasons we planted them there. But now, finding diversity to replant in those areas is going to take added costs and time. Some trees won’t make it initially. And then there are the installation and maintenance costs to add to each tree.
We understand you are concerned about your trees. Don’t worry — we can figure out what’s wrong. As the highest-certified arborist in the industry, and after 15 years of caring for and continuously learning about the trees in our ecosystem, we’re uniquely capable of providing proven results.
Here is how we do that for you:
The confirmation of emerald ash borer in Sioux Falls brought with it a lot of questions and concerns about the future of Sioux Falls’ urban forest. Certified master arborist Sam Kezar weighs in on the state of things and what it means for your business.