In the late 1970s, the city of Richfield replaced victims of Dutch elm disease with ash trees, selected for their fast growth and ability to provide shade on the city’s boulevards, according to Richfield Operations Superintendent Chris Link.
Now, the city is losing those ash trees to a new culprit – the emerald ash borer, an invasive insect that began ravaging the American arbor population in 2002.
“We know it’s here,” Link told the Sun Current, after announcing the insect’s arrival at a city council meeting last month.
Well aware of the threat, the city stopped planting ashes 14 years ago, Link said. And when the ash borer was found nearby at Fort Snelling Golf Course in 2012, the public works department began treating its boulevard ash trees to prevent infestation. The pest’s arrival was thought inevitable, and that time has come, although Link thought that would happen within a year of the Fort Snelling discovery instead of four.
Nevertheless, the looming ash borer infestation finally arrived in Richfield, discovered on a tree at a private residence on the 7600 block of Elliott Avenue.