City of Watertown continues proactive removal of ash trees as emerald ash borer infestations intensifies

News release

WATERTOWN, NY – The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was first discovered in the City of Watertown in October 2019 along Massey Street S. Initial investigations found isolated pockets of infestation that have since spread city-wide.

EAB targets ash trees, feeding on and destroying their vascular tissue located just
beneath the bark. As infestation intensifies within a host tree, the movement of water and nutrients is compromised, ultimately causing mortality within a few years of initial infestation.

Our partners at Tree Watertown, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County, NYS Department of Environmental Conservation, NYS Urban Forestry Council, USDA Forest Service, and SLELO-PRISM, all recommend the proactive removal of ash trees that are not considered eligible to receive chemical injection treatment to protect them from EAB.

To help slow the spread of EAB and to minimize future risk to health and property, the Department of Public Works (DPW) has kicked off their latest round of strategic ash tree removals within playgrounds, parks, and neighborhoods. Throughout the month of August, residents should expect to see DPW staff removing infested ash trees, of which the majority will still have green leaves and may appear somewhat healthy to the untrained eye.

The City’s Planning and Community Development Department continues outreach
efforts to inform property owners of anticipated tree removal operations immediately adjacent to their property. If there is available room for tree replacement, staff will prioritize the planting of a site appropriate species as part of the annual tree replacement program.

For more information, please reach out to City of Watertown Planner, Michael J.
DeMarco, at (315)785-7884 or