Ash borer puts budget spotlight on foresters
Seven to 10 times a day, Jaeson Morrison's phone rings. Someone in Richfield is worried about a tree.
An old elm looks weird. Something horrible is growing on a hackberry. A tree has bugs -- is it emerald ash borer?
So Morrison, a tree inspector who six months from now will probably be driving a snowplow, hops into his Richfield Public Works car -- a converted police black-and-white -- and goes out to take a look.
This year's discovery of emerald ash borer in St. Paul has communities around the Twin Cities scrambling to develop plans for identification and disposal of thousands of infected ash trees. City foresters say they're busier than ever. But demand for tree expertise is coming at the same time cities are cutting budgets.