As many as 30 dying ash trees will be cut down at Westside Park in Greenwood.
Greenwood Parks and Recreation Department employees realized the trees were dying when they noticed numerous holes in each tree. Those holes indicated an infestation of emerald ash borers, which are beetles that feed on the tissue beneath the bark of a tree.
“We have a serious problem at Westside Park,” Parks Director Rob Taggart said. “It’s unbelievable, and it’s sad.”
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The nearly 30 trees that will be cut down make up 80 to 90 percent of the trees at the park, located near Main Street and Averitt Road, he said.
The problem likely is from a previous summer when emerald ash borers hit trees at Westside Park, and the effects are just now noticeable, Taggart said. The holes are usually about the size of a fingernail, and if a tree has multiple holes, it’s an indicator of a big problem.
“There is nothing we can do about it,” Taggart said. “When you start seeing little holes that look like the letter ‘D’ in your ash tree, it’s gone.”
The trees that are dying line the access road to the back of the park by the shelter houses and fill up the surrounding area near the park’s trails.
The parks department will replace each tree that is cut down, and could potentially plant more, Taggart said.
The project could cost between $8,000 and $9,000, which will come from the general fund or capital improvement funds, Taggart said.