Princeton in good shape in fight against ash borer

Concerns over the effects of the emerald ash borer on Princeton trees aren’t as bad as officials may have expected.

That’s because there are less ash trees in the city than anticipated.chart

A tree study recently completed by the Sherburne County Soil and Conservation District and carried out in large part by volunteers resulted in good news for Princeton.

“Going in, we had no idea about the number of ash trees communities had,” said Gina Hugo, the resource conservationist with the Sherburne County Soil and Conservation District.

“The great news is, Princeton has 12 percent ash trees, about half of what we were expecting,” Hugo told the Princeton City Council on Thursday, Oct. 3.

Specifically, Princeton is home to 1,512 ash trees, the third greatest population of trees in the city. Princeton is home to 1,875 maple trees, 1,770 spruce trees and 1,441 red pine trees, according to results of the tree study.

The emerald ash borer, which in the adult stage ranges 3/8-5/8 inches long, kills ash trees because its larvae burrow through the bark into the vascular system of the tree. The burrowing severs the flow of nutrients for the tree, which can then die within two to four years.

Minnesota has about a billion ash trees. Hugo, last January, suggested that Princeton join Sherburne County in being proactive rather than reactive about the threat of the emerald ash borer.

“The main objective in an emerald ash borer survival plan is increasing species diversity,” Hugo said.

Having the data from the tree study allows Princeton to move forward in an informed way with its future planting and removal of trees, Hugo told the City Council on Oct. 3.

In Princeton, nine volunteers put in 243 hours collecting and disseminating data, Hugo said.