Detroit officials strive to make city greener after death of elm, ash trees

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replanting and staking treesIn September, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) listed five prominent species of ash trees in North America as critically endangered.

The five species of ash that are now considered on the brink of extinction are the green, black, blue, white and pumpkin ash. A sixth species, the Carolina ash, has been deemed merely endangered and not as threatened as some of the other species of ash tree. These species have reached this level of near extinction because of the emerald ash borer (EAB).

Since the tree population of Detroit, Michigan, has deteriorated so much over the last few years, officials are now investing funds to make the city greener.

According to the Detroit Metro Times, crews will be planting 10,000 saplings over the next three years in neighborhoods that express an interest in participating. This initiative has been named the “10,000 Up” tree planting program. The residents will only need to water the trees, which will be planted in the publicly owned area between the sidewalk and curb.

“This is very exciting for me because of the beauty trees bring to a neighborhood,” Jerome Christian, 68, who now looks out at a small tree planted in front of his home in northwest Detroit’s Aviation Subdivision, told Detroit Metro Times. “Then you think about the utility conservation and the water conservation, it’s a no-brainer.”

Officials add that trees will also help add to property values and lower pollution. For more information on how trees can help raise property values, click here. For more information on the many benefits of having tree present in a landscape, click here.

According to Christian, the elm and ash trees that used to shade his home were destroyed by the EAB and Dutch elm disease; he has not had trees around his property in more than a decade.

The Detroit Metro Times reports that Dutch elm disease made its way into Detroit in 1950 and wiped out the elms that previously lined the city’s most prestigious streets.

To avoid the risks that accompany monoculture, the city will plant a variety of trees. Based on their availability, the city has planted oaks, lindens, maples and ginkgos so far. Each has an expected lifespan of 40-100 years.

The Detroit Metro Times says that these 10,000 trees will be planted at a cost of $3 million per year, and trees have already been installed in the Boston Edison and Grandmont Rosedale neighborhoods, as well as the area of Meyers between 6 Mile and 7 Mile.

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