Overland Park removing trees to fight invasive Emerald Ash Borer

Published: Dec. 9, 2022 at 6:44 PM CST
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OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (KCTV) --- Overland Park has a plan to remove thousands of trees being wiped out by an invasive beetle.

The city says there are about 8,000 ash trees on the streets throughout the city, but some have been eliminated in recent years.

The root of the problem is a tiny green beetle called the Emerald Ash Borer, an invasive species that’s been sweeping through ash trees in the Midwest.

“It girdles the tree,” said Brett Cleveland from Urban Tree Specialists. “It cuts off the flow of nutrients as it goes through the bark.”

Cleveland was one of the first arborists to report it when it first hit the area several years ago. The beetle has swept through ash trees in Missouri and Kansas, with few options for prevention.

“It is going to continue,” Cleveland said. “Once they’re too far along it’s too late to treat.”

That’s why Overland Park and other communities are trying to get ahead of the problem. The city is using funds to hire contractors to help tackle the problem faster.

“The beetle’s moving faster than we can keep up but we’re trying to take this next big step,” said Bailey Patterson, Overland Park’s city forester.

About $2 million will be used to eliminate and plant a replacement tree.