Chillicothe Tree Commission Celebrates $50K Emerald Ash Borer Grant

Members of the Chillicothe Tree Commission along with Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney and personnel from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) gathered in Chillicothe’s Yoctangee Park last week to recognize the completion of the ODNR’s Emerald Ash Borer Grant.

A grant of $50-thousand was awarded by the ODNR in August of 2019 to the Chillicothe Tree Commission to remove a total of 70 Ash trees from the city’s downtown and Yoctangee Park. The removal of the trees was done to protect against an invasive species of Asian beetle known as the Emerald Ash Borer which is known to wreak havoc on Ash trees.

Members of the Chillicothe Tree Commission and personnel from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources joined Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney in Yoctangee Park on Wednesday, April 19th to celebrate Chillicothe's $50-thousand Emerald Ash Borer grant award.Photo: iHeartMedia Chillicothe

“The Tree Commission has done incredible work over the past few years,” said Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney. “the City appropriates about $15-thousand to the Tree Commission. Most of that goes to buying new tree saplings or equipment or whatever type of equipment and materials the Commission might need. Almost all the [Tree Commission] labor is volunteer which allows the city to apply for these type of grants.”

Roughly ten years ago, in 2013, 50 Ash trees were removed from Chillicothe’s downtown, with another 20 removed from Yoctangee Park. All 70 trees were replaced with other tree species.

The $50-thousand ONDR grant served as reimbursement to the city for the removal of those Ash trees. Mayor Feeney said the grant award was only made possible thanks to the work by the volunteer Tree Commission.

“They’re just such an important part of the city’s structure but they kind of go unheralded sometimes,” said Feeney. “We really want to recognize the great work they do.”

42 Ash trees remain in Yoctangee Park but they are currently being treated for Emerald Ash Borers. The city is using a couple of different techniques to prevent the invasive beetles from establishing themselves locally: Soil Drench Treatment and Trunk Injection.

Soil Drench Treatment involves adding a water-soluble liquid product to the base of trees or plants. Trunk Injection is an alternative approach to Soil Drench Treatment which involves targeted delivery of crop protection materials directly into the stem or trunk of woody plants.

The city used some of the $50-thousand grant to purchase its own equipment to perform Trunk Injection in-house. The injection efforts have so far proved successful.

Chillicothe was one of only three US cities to receive the $50-thousand grant. The other two cities are located in Indiana and Vermont.

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