City officials on Wednesday announced an aggressive, $2.6 million plan to inoculate 35,000 ash trees against the emerald ash borer and trim about 20,000 additional parkway trees.
The city will have a dedicated workforce to inoculate ash trees, the Department of Streets & Sanitation said in a statement. In 2013, the city will invest about $2 million in an ash borer program, compared to $110,000 in 2012.
"We'll be able to treat nearly double the amount of trees in one summer than we've been able to inoculate since the treatment was available in 2009," said Streets & Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams.
The city has hired and trained 26 laborers to implement the first year of the multi-year plan to combat the insect, which threatens about 85,000 of the city’s parkway trees. In 2013, 35,000 ash trees will be treated, in addition to the 18,000 total parkway trees inoculated since the treatment became available in 2009, the statement said.
In addition, Streets & San has hired seven additional forestry crews to provide regular tree maintenance, including trimming and removal, for the nearly half million trees that line city parkways. These crews will also support emergency forestry response during storms. Streets & San anticipates trimming up to 20,000 trees this year.
Forestry crews are expected to begin inoculating ash trees in early May and continue through September, when treatment is believed to be most effective.
The trees will be inoculated with Emamectin Benzoate, which has been proven to kill 99 percent of ash borers within a tree, according to the statement. It also protects the tree for up to three years.
The average cost to inoculate a tree is $46, compared with $1,000 to remove and replace it, according to Streets & San.
The emerald ash borer has killed more than 30 million ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with millions more dying in Illinois, Ohio, Indiana and other states.