Take a walk through Sunset Brooks Nature Area in Ann Arbor, and you’ll see the next generation of trees that in the past decade disappeared from the streets of the city.
Ash trees are sprouting up in nature areas and woods in and around the city, the successors of the green, white and black ashes we watched die in droves from an invasion of the emerald ash borer. Some of the new trees sprouted from ash trees, but larger saplings were probably just too small for the borers to bother with when the first invasive wave came through and destroyed the larger trees.
“For sure we’ve seen them in a lot of the natural areas,” says Kerry Gray, the city’s urban forestry and natural resources planning coordinator.
The Ann Arbor forestry crew spent at least three years doing nothing but removing ash trees, says Gray. Crews cut down an estimated 7,000 dead ashes along city streets and another 3,000 or so in parks and some nature areas, she says, at a cost of at least $2 million.
Many homeowners tried to save the trees in their own yards, to no avail. An estimated 30 million ash trees in southeast Michigan alone were wiped out.