Reports that a tree-killing insect, currently making its way into Hamilton and Marion counties, may have begun to appear in Putnam County have been disproven, a Greencastle official said this week.
Street Commissioner Paul Wilson told members of the city tree board Wednesday that state scientists determined a worm found underneath the decaying bark of an ash tree near the intersection of DePauw Avenue and East Franklin Street was not the larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer as initially thought.
Workers doing routine maintenance on the city's trees in late March discovered a tree bearing worm trails similar to those caused by the ash borer and called state officials.
"They looked at the tree and it had the same zig-zag pattern," Wilson said.
A state Department of Natural Resources official was called to inspect the tree last month and upon closer examination found the damage to be caused by something other than the Emerald Ash Borer.
The news came as a relief for board members this week, but they agreed it behooves the city to continue to keep an eye on the situation as all indications are that the insect will continue its march through Indiana.
Board member Curt Hoskins, who is employed by Duke Energy (formerly Cinergy), said the information he's been able to gain indicates there is little anyone can do to stop the insect from spreading.
He said communities in Michigan and Ohio, where the insect began appearing a few years ago, have spent a significant amount of money to save their ash trees but have ultimately failed to stop the insects from spreading.
In other tree matters, plans are coming together for May 6 when the city will again recognize local veterans, many of whom have been memorialized by their families with tree plantings on the north side of Veterans Memorial Highway.
Beginning at 10 a.m. state and local dignitaries are expected to gather along the highway to plant a memorial tree and pay tribute to those who have and continue to service in the military.
Wilson said the event is also intended to recognize National Arbor Day and the naming of Greencastle as an official Tree City. A state official may be on hand to present the city with the award during the ceremony, he said.
This year the street department, through donations of local residents, planted 70 trees along the half-mile stretch of roadway, including 41 to replace ones that died last year. In all there have been 12 species of tree planted, to include several varieties of dogwood, redbud, plum and crabapple. Additionally, the street department has planted shrubs and blue spruce trees to add further interest to the road.
"We keep expanding that area and will continue as long as we can," Wilson told the board.
The public is invited to attend the May 6 ceremony which will run approximately one hour. The road will be closed to traffic beginning at 9:30 a.m. to allow for parking for the event.
The next tree board meeting will be at 6:30 p.m. June 14 at city hall. Meetings are open to the public.