“THESE ARE BEAUTIFUL NATURAL TREES TO THE AREA, THEY MAKE UP A GREAT PART OF THE HISTORICAL INTEGRITY OF THE PARK AND THEY’RE BEAUTIFUL. WE WOULD DO THIS FOR ANY SPECIES OF TREE THAT’S BEING ATTACKED,” SAID CROCKATT.
Watch the full interview here: http://goo.gl/Lq3wy3
BUFFALO, N.Y. — The Olmsted Parks Conservancy is waging a battle to save thousands of trees that have been infected with a pest that turned up in Erie County five years ago, and has now spread to every corner of Western New York.
In just the past five years in Erie County alone, a pervasive beetle called the emerald ash borer has decimated thousands of trees. For some trees at Martin Luther King Park, there’s only one way to cure them.
Mark Brand is the caretaker to thousands of ash trees in the Olmsted Parks system.
“If you think of this park and a third of its trees are ash, if you were to remove all of them it would change the face of the park a lot,” said Brand.
One tree at a time, Brand is digging to find the emerald ash borer and its harmful larvae, which dig thorough a tree’s bark, burrow into the wood and feeds on the vascular tissue of the tree in an s-shaped pattern, killing the tree from the inside out.
The pest first showed up at South Park in 2011 and has spread all over Western New York. Brand and his team have had to chop down dozens of trees, many of which are more than 100 years old and past the point of saving.
“We want to maintain these really majestic trees that I don’t think, without an organization like ours, would be able to do,” said Brand.
They do that by injecting the trees with pesticides can help, but it’s expensive: $70 per tree, and there are thousands of them in the Olmsted Park system that need saving.
“The injections only last one to two years depending on the chemicals used, so we need additional funding to save these trees,” said Stephanie Crockatt, Buffalo Olmsted Parks Conservancy executive director.
That money has been hard to come by. On Saturday, Olmsted Parks will be at the Walden Galleria, accepting donations to battle the bug. The goal is to raise $10,000.
“These are beautiful natural trees to the area, they make up a great part of the historical integrity of the park and they’re beautiful. We would do this for any species of tree that’s being attacked,” said Crockatt.
By John Borsa, Time Warner Cable News