As of 2017, the City of Newport managed around 120 ash trees on public land (mostly along streets), many of which are in severe decline from the Emerald ash borer (EAB). Many of these are infested removals must be managed to maintain public safety.
For budget reasons and to avoid dramatic losses of canopy, the City will not remove all the dying ash at once. It will instead be done in phases over a number years. The largest concentration of these trees is in the East Row neighborhood, mostly along Washington Avenue (a reminder of why it is a poor practice to plant only one species along street segments).
In 2018, the 35+ ash trees in the worst condition or causing the highest risk to public safety were removed.
All remaining ash will be re-evaluated in 2019 for the next round of removals.
Thankfully we have a number of trees that are not showing signs of any infestation, as well as some trees that are being treated by the adjacent property owner on an ongoing basis. Please note that no healthy ash trees will be removed.
Figure 1: Location of all ash trees in Newport under public management as of 2017.
Residents are invited to review this Summary and Highlights of the Tree Ordinance.
The Importance of
In cities across the country, there are many residents who lament the presence of urban trees, citing a number of problems. The most common of which are that they are messy, damage sidewalks and are sources of potential property damage from falling limbs or total tree failure. However, thanks to new technology and modeling tools, trees have now been proven as valuable city infrastructure and critical to vibrant communities because of the benefits they provide, with benefits shown to outweigh the maintenance related work associated with trees.
Urban trees have proven to be an effective tool across multiple city management areas, including planning, economic development, public health, and sanitation. They have been proven to alleviate water and air pollution, improve public health, increase property value, and enhance the success of business districts.
On an annual basis, cities often see a strong return on investment related to tree costs and benefits. A recent five-city study found that cities accrued benefits ranging from $1.50–$3.00 for every dollar invested in trees (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 2015).
Unlike man-made systems, trees are the only urban infrastructure that actually increase services and value over time. As trees mature, benefits increase exponentially, unlike more traditional city infrastructure such as roads and bridges that deteriorate with age.
The emerald ash borer (EAB) is a pest from Asia that has been killing ash trees in the US since it was found in 2002 near Detroit, MI. By 2009 it had migrated to our area (largely through sale of infested firewood). See the Figure 6 for the latest infestation map. Once infected, an ash tree can die within just 4-5 years, and often become extremely brittle and lose limbs well before death. Though treatment options do exist, they are expensive and must be reapplied regularly. To learn more about the emerald ash borer, visit: UK College of Agriculture.