Ohio City neighborhood fights to save ash trees

Posted at 3:56 PM, Oct 16, 2017

As the emerald ash borer, an invasive beetle, continues to kill trees across the country, the state and in the city of Cleveland, residents on one street in Ohio City are hoping they have found a solution.

There are 35 ash trees lining the street on West 50th between Bridge Avenue and Franklin Boulevard.

“It’s a special place,” said Roger Scheve, president of the neighborhood block club.

A decade ago, residents decided they didn’t want the city of Cleveland to cut down uninfected trees as a preventative measure, so they went searching for other options.

A Massachusetts-based company named Arborjet decided to “adopt” the street and provide treatments against the emerald ash bore for ten years. Treatments were done in 2010, 2013 and 2016.

The next round is required in 2019. This time, the residents will need to come up with the $3,000 needed for treatment.

"I am willing to invest in my trees," said resident Matt Fehrmann. He was the one who initially contacted Arborjet.

Scheve said treatment is similar to an IV for the trees.

“They inject like you would an IV with a treatment that prevents the emerald ash bore from infecting that tree," Scheve said.

Residents have worked with Cleveland City Councilman Matt Zone, who has hopes that the pilot program can branch out.

“This can be expanded city-wide, but you have to put real dollars up. There is a real cost with this, about $100 per tree,” Zone said.

Currently, the city of Cleveland has a “remove and replace” program when it comes to ash trees. According to the city, when the first diseased trees were discovered in 2007, most were too damaged and treatment was not an option. The city agreed to allow residents on W. 50th to save their trees.

Since 2013, 2,206 ash trees have been removed and replaced. According to city spokesman Dan Williams, it costs approximately $300 per tree.

Trees are being planted across the urban area. As a comprehensive tree plan, the goal is to have 50,000 planted by 2020 to revitalize the Forest City’s waning tree canopy.