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Madison holds Arbor Day event - Daily Leader Extra : Top Stories

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Madison holds Arbor Day event

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Posted: Friday, May 3, 2019 3:25 pm

The party was held a week late due to bad weather, but the Madison Parks Department did host an Arbor Day event on Thursday -- partly to recognize the talents of several young poster artists and partly to celebrate Madison's 38th consecutive year as a Tree City USA participant.

Rick Mayko, S.D. Department of Agriculture community forester, delivered the city's new Tree City USA flag and 38th anniversary sign stickers to the Madison Depot. Mike McGillivray, city parks supervisor, and parks staff held the gathering at the old railroad Depot so attendees could help plant a state street maple sapling on the grounds.

Mayko said that he had helped survey ash trees in Sioux Falls last year for emerald ash borer infestations. The invasive pest from Asia has destroyed ash tree populations across the United States, and the insects have recently appeared in South Dakota.

Mayko said the 2018 tree survey in Sioux Falls tallied about 300 infected ash trees.

According to Mayko, white, green and black ash trees are vulnerable to emerald ash borer infestations. Manchurian ash trees are resilient to the borers, but the Asian ash tree species have vulnerablities to some North American pests.

Mayko said horticulturists can inject ash trees against the emerald ash borer. The injections are preventive and sometimes therapeutic for infected ash trees, if the trees are not too badly damaged. He said the injections cost $10 to $15 per inch for an ash tree's diameter, meaning an ash tree with a 10-inch-thick trunk would cost $100 to $150 to inject.

According the Mayko, property owners should worry about removing or protecting their ash trees until the ash borers are found within 10 to 15 miles of their property. He said the borers are not particularly mobile. Their spread is often blamed on the movement of untreated lumber, such as firewood from one area to another.

He also noted that the emerald ash borer has shown itself as having a resilience against subzero temperatures and flooding.

McGillivray spoke about Madison's program to remove ash trees from the city's boulevards before the ash borer infestations become a problem. He said the Parks Department currently has a list of 60 ash trees that stand between sidewalks and street curbs which city residents have offered for removal.

McGillivray said property owners can call 256-7520 to notify city officials about ash trees that are available for removal. However, property owners will need to remove on their own any ash trees in private yards.

Madison Mayor Roy Lindsay read a city proclamation which noted that Arbor Day's creation was celebrated in Nebraska with the planting of more than a million trees. Lindsay's proclamation noted that trees reduced soil erosion, produced oxygen, provided cooling for houses, increased property values, and created a renewable resource. He added that trees and their benefits "broadened the hearts" of current residents and future generations.

Several Madison fifth-grade students who won awards for the Arbor Day poster artwork attended the gathering. Daniel Aldridge, Brookelynn Mallett and Sammy Troxell received $25 in Mad Money (local Chamber bucks) for their conservation posters. The children also helped plant the maple sapling on the Depot grounds.

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