Q. I have noticed some trees in the median have recently been marked with green tape. Can you tell us why they have been marked?
A. Thanks for reaching out! The trees that are marked in green flagging are ash species. What we are doing is updating our tree inventory to determine the health of our current ash population and removing any of the trees that are in poor condition.
Last month, Tarrant County confirmed an Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation. It appears as though this was actually the first site for EAB in Texas and not east Texas in 2016 as was originally thought. Sadly, this is an invasive species from Asia that our ash trees do not have the defenses to protect themselves against. All ash trees that are not receiving systemic insecticide will succumb to EAB. Our department is providing homeowners with some helpful information to help them better understand the issue.
Needless to say, we have taken this very seriously at the City of Plano. We do not have EAB in Plano or Collin County at this time, so all of this is in preparation.
EAB only affects ash trees. From Plano’s different tree studies over the years, we have discovered that Plano’s tree canopy consists of about four to six percent ash, most of which is located along our creeks and natural areas. Only the ones in poor shape are being removed, as they would normally for health and safety purposes. We are still in the planning phases, so any healthy trees will remain. Green flagging does not indicate that the tree will be removed, only that it is an ash species.
I am working on a website to direct our citizens about what to do for their ash trees on private property, which can be found at www.plano.gov/eab. There is not much posted at this time, but keep a close watch, as more information will be posted soon.
Texas A&M Forest Service is monitoring the situation and provides information about EAB on their website. Mike Sills is our local Texas Forest Service contact in Plano and Collin County. If you have EAB specific questions, please contact Mike at 972-952-9242 or if you think your tree may be infested contact the Texas Forest Service Hotline at 1-866-322-4512.
Do you have a question for our urban forester? Contact Angela Kralik at firstname.lastname@example.org or 972-941-5419.