The Longfellow Environment Committee has a proposal before it to enable community members to contribute funds to save some of the more than 1,600 ash trees in our community that will be taken down by the park board. The project is described on the website www.savelongfellowash.org. Because of extensive comment on the Transition Longfellow facebook page, the committee is hosting a meeting in August (date not yet set) to hear community feedback on this project. The meeting will be 6 to 8 pm at the Hiawatha Park building. This is an open meeting - anyone can come. The Facts and Issue to Consider
All public ash trees will be removed by the Park Board over the course of eight years, unless the community decides to treat them (or some of them).
100% of public and private ash trees will eventually be attacked and die if not treated. It is unclear how many years that would take.
Some communities, like Marcy Holmes, are choosing to treat "significant" ash trees.
Ash trees provide habitat and food for a variety of insects, birds and animals.
Chemical treatment of the ash to prevent fatal damage by the emerald ash borer (insect) requires use of a systemic pesticide (though not a neonic), making the tree toxic to other insects as well.
Chemical treatment does not last forever. It has to be renewed every few years. The cost of treatment can be substantial - $250 and upwards for a very large tree.
There are natural predators to emerald ash borer, but they need time to build in numbers. It's unclear if these natural predators can bring the EAB population under control quickly enough.
Big, old trees with large, tall leaf canopies provide critical ecological services not provided by small replacement trees, such as:
Reducing heat by providing extensive shade (the Twin Cities is a significant urban heat island)
Reducing stormwater runoff by preventing rainwater from reaching the ground. Urban stormwater drainage systems are often inadequate to handle the flow from severe storms. People still report seeing water shooting out of manhole covers in parts of this neighborhood and 10 years ago a Longfellow resident was paralyzed when hit by a flying manhole cover.
Climate change is expected to increase heavy rainfall events and increase heat. How will the loss of so many large trees from the tree canopy effect our environment?
This is a complex issue and there are good reasons why people may have differing opinions. If you would like to be part of the conversation - whether to learn more or to contribute what you know and care about - please attend the meeting.
Remember, Longfellow cannot change the Park Board's decision about removal of untreated trees. The purpose of the meeting is to provide input to the neighborhood Environment Committee on how and whether it takes action to enable chemical treatment of some significant trees in the community that would otherwise be taken down.
Tree Ribboning Event
The Longfellow Environment Action Team will do a tree ribboning activity on Sunday, July 17, starting at 11 am at Hiawatha Park. Neighborhood volunteers will be trained to identify ash trees and then go out into the community together to put a ribbon around every ash they see.