Our Opinion: Keeping Austin a tree city

Published 6:51 pm Friday, June 17, 2022

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Those living in Austin have always enjoyed its large amount of trees, which groups including Spruce Up Austin have worked to ensured that our community is made as green as possible.

Proudly boasting its Tree City USA moniker, Austin has embraced the planting of trees throughout its deep history, going all the way back to when Jay C. Hormel planted the first trees in what would become the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center.

We’re going to need that spirit now more than ever.

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In late May the Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in Austin, the inevitable news Austin had been waiting for ever since the first EAB was discovered in our county near Racine.

As its name suggests, EAB larvae bore through the part of the ash tree that carries nutrients up and down the tree’s height, eventually killing it.

Unfortunately, Austin is home to a large amount of ash trees and going forward people will be forced to make decisions on some of the trees on their properties. There are steps to take to save trees, but it all depends on timing and when the larvae are discovered. Unfortunately, it still means that a good amount of trees will have to come down.

If you have an ash tree, be sure to keep an eye on it for signs. One of the most visible signs is if woodpeckers take an interest in your trees, creating holes all over the tree in an effort to feed on the larvae.

We urge you to be proactive in this and consider replacing any trees that might be lost over time because of EAB. Austin is one of the most beautiful communities in our area and it’s because of the embrace of trees. They add so much to the community that we couldn’t imagine Austin without its vast green canopy.