Worthington ice storm clean-up continues


Removing trees in Worthington (MPR photo)

Work crews in Worthington in southwest Minnesota are still clearing away debris from an early April ice storm. But things are moving ahead more rapidly than expected. City Forester Scott Rosenberg said workers are clearing about 750 trees from parks, boulevards, and other city property.

“We have about 500 of those removed with 250 remaining,” Rosenberg said.

About two-thirds of those trees will be replaced, but Rosenberg said city ordinance bans planting trees near underground utilities, like power, sewer and water lines The downed trees were grandfathered in when the law was adopted more than 15 years ago, but new trees will not be planted in those locations.

Rosenberg said as much as 90 percent of the city’s lost trees were ash trees, which appeared to suffer the most damage in the ice storm.

That’s surprising, he said, because ash is considered a durable hardwood.

Rosenberg is not yet sure why so many of those trees went down, but said the ash trees will not be replaced, because of concerns over the emerald ash borer, which is killing trees and spreading in Minnesota. The bug has not been found in Worthington.