Community initiative to save ash trees to be launched next week

Published 5:58 pm Thursday, April 4, 2024

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The City of Austin Parks, Recreation & Forestry Department has announced a new community outreach initiative: “Treat NOW! Protect our ash trees before it’s too late.”  

The inaugural community outreach event is scheduled for 6 p.m., on April 9 at the Jay C. Hormel Nature Center.

Emerald ash borer (EAB) is the most serious threat to Austin’s tree population since Dutch elm disease. The city’s trees are decimated during the late stages of infestation, so the city is taking proactive measures to preserve what it can, while it can. 

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READ MORE: Parks and Rec taking ‘treat first’ approach to EAB

“Trees are a valuable resource and make our city beautiful.  Tree removal is costly, and it takes a couple decades to return that value that was lost,” Jason Sehon, Austin’s Director of Parks, Recreation & Forestry, in a press release Thursday. “Because of the drought we have been experiencing the last couple of years, it is difficult for [the City] to focus on replanting.  Our current focus needs to be on treatment and removal of dangerous trees.”

The goals of these events will be to:

  • Present key background information about EAB
  • Teach residents how to identify ash trees
  • Explore diverse and resilient replanting alternatives to ash and maple
  • Promote awareness of treatment options available to residents
  • Highlight the closing time frame to save ash trees this spring
  • Discuss the importance of preserving Austin’s mature trees
  • Provide updates to residents on the City’s progress combatting EAB

“This plan will talk about the value of our city trees and the benefits of treatment and re-planting,” Sehon said. “The thought is that home and business owners have the resources to water and care for trees.”

The window for saving our ash trees by treating for EAB is rapidly closing. Ash tree treatment is most effective when applied in late spring, immediately after leaf out. With spring around the corner, Austin is running out of time to effectively treat the trees. 

This spring may be the last season ash trees can be saved the release said.  

For more information about this initiative or additional event details, please contact Kris Hahn at