LOUISVILLE — The city of Louisville is taking steps to protect ash trees on the Ohio River waterfront, which the city has invested in and heavily promoted.
Hundreds of tree roots around Waterfront Park are being injected with a chemical that protects against the tree-killing ash borer.
Officials haven't confirmed the beetle is in the park, but the borer has been found in Shelby and Jessamine counties.
"It's coming," Beth Reece, a horticulture technician with the Jefferson County Extension Office, told The Courier-Journal. "It's pretty much all around us. A lot of homeowners believe they have it."
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The insect burrows under the tree's bark and devours its system for moving nutrients and water, Reece said.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is conducting a data collection study. Sticky, purple triangles have been hung in dozens of ash trees to trap emerald ash borers around Metro Louisville.
Officials hope to have a plan by the end of summer to deal with the insects and protect the trees, said Marty Storch, assistant director of the Louisville Metro Parks Department.
The downtown Waterfront Park has more than 200 trees, planted up to 12 years ago, said Gary Pepper, facilities manager with the Waterfront Development Corp.
Waterfront officials stopped having ash trees planted three years ago when they learned of the potential for a problem with emerald ash borers and started planting hardier willow oak trees, Pepper said.
Waterfront crews have been treating the trees for the past few weeks with a pesticide powder to kill the insects, Pepper said.