Lawrence OK’d to tackle ‘an epidemic’ among its thousands of ash trees

Lawrence’s horticulture and forestry manager, a 34-year veteran of the Parks and Recreation department, is “kind of passionate about trees,” at the least, she said.

A certified arborist since the 1980s, Crystal Miles has helped grow and maintain the urban forest in Lawrence, which has been part of The Arbor Day Foundation’s Tree City USA program for the past 37 years.

Now, Miles and the rest of the horticulture and forestry staff are working to keep that designation by battling an epidemic that will kill all of the city’s ash trees — including the thousands in the public right-of-way — in the next eight to 10 years.

“I call it catastrophic,” Miles said.

This past Tuesday, the Lawrence City Commission unanimously — though reluctantly — approved spending $238,540 this year on treating, removing and replacing ash trees infected with emerald ash borers.

(Read more: stories: News)

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