Emerald ash borer forces council to replant trees

Luke Reimer

Along with other local towns and municipalities, Oconto Falls has had to take measures to handle emerald ash borer.

Due to the disease from the emerald ash borer, the city of Oconto Falls has had to cut more than 40 ash trees in parks, the terrace and throughout the city.

“The city council approved for the administrator to look for funds in the city budget to be reallocated to tree planting,” said Oconto Falls City Administrator Peter Wills. “Additionally, the city will be offering logs that they have collected in cutting down trees to be sold by bid to the public.”

Wills went on to say that the city will be seeking donations to support the planting of new trees. Along with a donation comes a plaque that will bear the name of those supporting the trees or to be used as a memorial, based upon the new donation and memorial policy that was approved.

Emerald ash borer was spotted in both Oconto and Shawano counties in 2020, in Shawano city trees in 2021, in Menominee County in 2022 and recently it has been spotted just west of Gillett in April.

It is a beetle native to China that attacks ash trees starting at the top and working its way down, before the tree is completely dead. Oftentimes woodpecker holes are found in the trees, as the birds feed on the emerald ash borer larvae. The emerald ash borer is still new to Wisconsin, as it was only discovered about 20 years ago. The main way that it is transported to Wisconsin is from firewood that is brought in from out of state. The beetle has no direct harm to humans.