Wednesday, August 22, 2018
Thanks to the damage caused by the Emerald ash borer (EAB, an invasive pest), many ash trees along our streets are in severe decline. The time has come to start to remove these dying, infested trees, in the interest of maintaining public safety. You can read more about EAB here.
Trees marked with an “X” on the trunk will be removed in the coming weeks. This is an unfortunate thing, as the City is well aware of how much trees define our city and neighborhoods understands the importance and value of tree canopy in urban environments (see below for the City’s canopy goals).
The City of Newport manages around 120 ash trees on public land (mostly along streets). For budget reasons, removal of the ash trees will be done in phases over the next few years. This year over 40 ash trees in the worst condition or causing the highest risk to public safety have been selected for removal. The largest concentration of these trees are in the East Row neighborhood, with many along Washington Avenue (another reminder of why it is bad practice to plant only one species in a block). Please note that no healthy ash trees will be removed (we know a few residents have been treating them over the last few years).
We are aware it will be hard to see these trees coming down. Thousands of cities across the country have/are dealing with results of this EAB pest. While many municipalities, including the City of Cincinnati, chose to remove all of their ash years ago proactively; Newport chose to remove them only as they became safety hazards.
NEXT STEPS. The City will be removing the trees marked with an “X” in the coming weeks to maintain public safety. The stumps will be ground out in the following months. This year’s budget is focused on tree removal for public safety. Tree replacement will occur in the future.
We appreciate your understanding of this situation and your support as we continue to improve Newport’s tree canopy while maintaining public safety. Should you have any questions please feel free to contact Community Services Director Doug Roell at 859-912-2541.
Newport’s goal is, at minimum, to maintain our tree canopy cover (amount of city covered by trees when viewed from above) at the current 33%, while working to improve the quality and health of the current canopy and equalize the tree canopy cover between neighborhoods - all while maintaining public safety. In this effort, the city has recently hired ISA Certified Arborist Rachel Comte as a tree expert to provide assistance in the proper care, maintenance and reforesting of the City of Newport. Rachel was a catalyst for the large volunteer tree planting events over the last five years across multiple Newport neighborhoods.