A combination of the impacts of drought and impending pest infestation mean one of the cities that makes up Kansas City’s suburban forest will be removing and replacing a substantial number of trees in 2014.
Mission Hills plans to remove 166 of the 340 Ash trees on city property this year in anticipation of the arrival of the emerald ash borer. The removal process is budgeted to cost $170,000, with new tree replacement costs around $15,000.
In 2013, the city removed 36 trees that had died as a result of the extended drought that peaked after the summer of the 2012. City Administrator Courtney Christensen said Mission Hills is likely to remove a similar number of drought-stricken trees this year as well, though the city doesn’t have a count yet of how many trees will need to be removed.
“That assessment is difficult to make until the trees leaf out and the sap begins to rise,” she said.
Mission Hills has $35,000 budgeted for 2014 for drought-stricken tree removal.
The drought also forced the city to hold off on plans to plant new trees throughout the city in 2012 and 2013. As such, Mission Hills is planning on planting around 200 new trees this year “to make way on our backlog of trees previously removed but not yet replaced,” said Christensen. The city is also planning on planting 70 additional trees as replacements for the Ashes it will remove.
Christensen said the city will be planting a variety of species as replacement trees, and that the city will work with homeowners to help select trees they would prefer to see in front of their properties.