Getting ahead of the ash borer in St. Paul

The emerald ash borer’s toll is readily apparent in St. Paul, but the city is fighting back like never before this spring.

Here’s Bob Trotter, with Hoffman & McNamara nursery, of Hastings, unloading a red point maple along Randolph Avenue in Highland Park about 6 AM this morning.

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It’s one of thousands of trees being trucked around St. Paul right now. Part of that is the city’s annual tree planting program, but the city is also trying to catch up with the “structured removal” of its ash forest.

Parks spokesman Brad Meyer says the city’s upped its planing from about 3,000 trees this year to 5,000.

You may have seen the rows and rows of trees yarded up near Randolph Avenue and Shepard Road. Trucks and trailers like Trotter’s will also be a more common sight on the streets of St. Paul.

“Part of the EAB management plan is to reforest the city with a diversity of trees. And we’re trying to plant as much as we can now, because when EAB really moves through, our forestry staff will be maxed out just handling that. We’re trying to stay ahead of it as best we can.”

Meyer says that means that trees are being planted in lots of places, not just where ash trees have been cut down. St. Paul is working in neighborhoods in the southwest and northeast corners of the city this spring.