Bug infestation means thousands of NJ trees will have to come down

Posted: Updated:
MORRIS COUNTY -

Thousands of trees in New Jersey will have to be cut down due to potential infestation of the emerald ash borer beetle.

“Millions of our ash trees will be going down over the next 5 to 10 years,” says Morris County communications manager Larry Ragonese.

New Jersey has millions of ash trees. They are found lining state roadways and nature trails, as well as inside parks and residential properties. All of them are likely to be infected with and destroyed by the emerald ash borer.

The emerald ash borer is native to Asia, but was accidently introduced into the ecosystem of the United States and Canada in the 1990s.

Morris County is taking a proactive approach and will be cutting down all ash trees along roads in all 39 of the county’s municipalities. Ragonese says that 3,000 trees have already been tagged to be taken down and that at least 10,000 more will come down in future phases of the program.

“The sooner we can do this the better, because as the trees become infected, they also become brittle and very difficult to take down and very dangerous for crews to get into,” he says.

Ragonese says that the trees need to come down because they are too close to roadways and could potentially fall on passing vehicles.

The county has earmarked $600,000 to remove the first 3,000 trees. The process will start in January in Morris Township and Long Hill.

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