City of Grand Junction responding to tree canopy threats

Published: Jul. 14, 2021 at 9:15 AM MDT
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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (KKCO) -The City of Grand Junction is increasing efforts to address increasing pressure from insects and drought threatening trees in public areas.

One primary issue the city is working to address is damage to Ash trees, which make up 23% of the public tree inventory. Ash trees are susceptible to pests like Lilac Ash Borer and Ash Bark Beetle. The Emerald Ash Borer is an even more damaging insect that has caused sever damage to eastern slope communities. Parks and Recreation expects them to eventually migrate to the western slope.

To combat this, crews are injecting Ash trees, with a 25 inch diameter or greater trunk, with a treatment that helps fight off pests. They are also spraying smaller tree trunks through summer and fall months. This isn’t as effective as the injection but it has a more immediate impact on fighting pests and drought pressure. Finally, crews are removing infested Ash trees because it helps prevent further spread of pests.

Grand Junction residents can expect to see crews treating and removing public trees around the community more this fall. They are also planting trees where there are signs of consistent care to replace any lost trees using a diversity of species. The city does not plant Ash trees and asks residents to do the same.

Drought is another major issue the city wants to address. Currently, the Grand Valley is in the most severe drought condition. In this condition, dust storms and topsoil removal are common and agricultural losses are substantial.

To help address these concerns, Parks and Recreation has redeployed some staff, added one new position and created two additional forestry crews. It is also expanding the spray crew to the comprehensive spray program. Long-term budget increases are being evaluated.

Community members can help maintain the city’s urban tree canopy by regularly watering trees on their property. This will limit the impacts of dry conditions and prevent substantial tree loss.

The City of Grand Junction’s urban tree canopy spans 11% of the community, 4,650 acres. Residential areas contain about 62% of the entire canopy in the city.

The city’s Parks and Recreation department maintains over 37,000 public trees along trees, parks and open space areas.

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