2,500 La Crosse Ash trees removed so far

Ash tree removal in full swing

Many of La Crosse’s streets are looking a whole lot more bare. The city has cut down 2,500 trees and counting as part of its emerald ash borer removal plan.

In the next few years, almost all of the city’s 4,500 ash trees will be gone, whether or not the tree is sick.

The parks and recreation department said this is one of their biggest undertakings ever and they are hard at work.

In his 14 years as a La Crosse city arborist Dan Stefferud has never seen anything like this. Stefferud and his crew remove 50 Ash trees each week.

“It’s hard to cut down a tree if it’s actually healthy still, but right now, we found emerald ash borer all over the city so we are kind of considering every tree is invested,” Stefferud said.

“We’ve been hitting the outskirts of the community and city parts and now we are focusing more on getting into the neighborhoods,” Jay Odegaard, the supervisor for the parks and recreation department said.

The city wants to remove the ash trees as quickly as possible.

“Once the tree dies, it dies in very quick manner, the limbs start falling down the main tree itself will fall down,” Odegaard said.

That makes removal much more difficult.

“It takes about 30 percent longer, if it’s dead to clean up the tree,” Stefferud said.

But there is some hope about 500 Ash trees, marked with yellow paint, are being treated with an emerald ash borer protectant.

“If people want to treat an ash tree that is on the boulevard they just need to contact our office, and they have to show proof that they are treating it,” Odegaard said.

And as for the ones that are gone, there will be life put back in its place.

“The faster we cut them down the faster we’re able to come in and replace the tree with a healthy species of tree that will hopefully be here for a long time to come,” Odegaard said.

On April 11, Losey Boulevard will be shut down from La Crosse St. to Ward Ave. from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. for Ash Tree removal.