Ash trees come down on courthouse lawn



The process to remove four ash trees from the courthouse lawn started Wednesday.

Commissioners hired Rob’s Tree Service of Scottsburg to remove the trees over concerns they may collapse.

The trees have been weakened by the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle that affects the ash species.

Commissioners approved a budget of $10,000 for the project, which includes removing the trees and stumps. The county originally budgeted $8,000 to remove three trees but later discovered a fourth that needed removed.

The tree with the most concern is a large one near the war memorial, but officials have expressed concerns that it’s possible a tree could fall with a person nearby.

“We’re trying to avoid that kind of scenario,” Commissioner Drew Markel said.

The removal will leave one remaining ash tree on the courthouse lawn, which was treated by arborist Forrest Willey with Naturalscape Services Inc. in July.

Willey completed a trunk injection with an insecticide and will do so annually to help kill the emerald ash borer.

“Since this tree has about 10% damage and is pretty mature, it’s a high-value tree, so I opted to treat it once a year,” he said.

That tree is near the courthouse building and has little noticeable damage in its canopy.

Commissioners said during Tuesday’s meeting they plan to hire Willey to plant new species of trees. Willey told Markel before the meeting he would do soil samples and create a list of trees that would thrive on the courthouse lawn.

Markel said he agreed with Willey that different species need to be planted so if a pest overtakes a certain species that it does not take out a lot of the courthouse’s trees.

“We’re going to get a list of native trees that would work here,” Markel said.

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