LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) - The city of La Crosse continues to fight a pest that has been killing ash trees for the past couple of years.
Back in 2012, the city created an Emerald Ash Borer management plan and has already removed about 2,000 ash trees, but there is still more work to be done.
The city is currently in the process of removing about 600 stumps that have been left over from the removal of infected ash trees. So far, the city has replaced about 300 of them.
One tree nursery owner says she has noticed a change in business ever since the deadly beetle made its way into La Crosse County.
For more than 20 years, Christine Christen, owner of Christine Farm Nursery, has been growing a variety of trees in her nursery, including the ash tree.
"It was one of our main trees that we sold," said Christen.
But in recent years, the selection has changed.
"You would be hard pressed to find any kind of an ash tree to be for sale anymore at a quality nursery," said Christen.
Now, instead of the selling the trees to customers, she is helping save them.
"Many of the trees that we are treating now are the trees that we sold 15-20 years ago," said Christen.
"There is probably 230 properties that are treating trees, so that is about 400 trees in the city that are being treated for the Emerald Ash Borer," said Cindy Johnson, the parks and forestry coordinator for the city of La Crosse.
Most treatments are done on a yearly basis and are effective.
"You can save it even if it's 20-30 percent gone," said Christen.
However, sometimes it's just too late and the city has to step in to remove those severely infected trees.
"If we don't get it taken care of now and stagger it, then in a few years from now it will hit us all at one time and we won't be able to manage it as well as we can if we start now," said Johnson.
Although Christine misses the site of the ash tree in her nursery, she knows the risk is just too high to put them back on the shelf.
"I think that it's going to be a while before it passes through and that people feel safe to do it and that I would feel safe to invest money in them and believe that I could sell them," said Christen.
Christen said ever since she stopped selling ash trees, she has seen an increase in sales of maple trees, which have become a popular alternative.
If you've recently received a replacement for your infected ash tree, city officials want to remind you to water it and take care of it so that it can make it through the winter.
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