After the drought, replace KC's trees
The Kansas City Star
Wednesday was a good day for trees and their many fans in the Kansas City area.
It rained a little, replenishing some of the moisture drained from the ground during the searing summer drought.
Mature trees turned even brighter shades of their eye-candy red, yellow and orange fall colors.
And on a two-block area south of downtown, volunteers looked to the future while planting about two dozen young trees in newly dug holes in the sidewalk along McGee Street.
The replacement of trees around the region should be a high priority for local governments as well as homeowners, because enemies are all around.
The 2012 drought has killed thousands of young trees. More bad news: Additional trees, including older ones, will die in the next few years because they were weakened this summer. A warm, dry spring could accelerate the death march. Homeowners should get out the hoses this fall and early next year to keep trees well watered.
The emerald ash borer has made its way to this area and could kill thousands of mature ashes in the coming years. Kansas City parks officials soon expect to unveil a plan to treat trees on public land to slow the spread of the destructive beetle.
A microscopic worm known as the pinewood nematode continues to damage and kill pines throughout the region, causing a disease known as pine wilt. Unfortunately, there’s no cure.
-Finally, Missouri’s extensive black walnut population is being watched closely for evidence of Thousand Cankers Disease, caused by the walnut twig beetle and a fungus.
Looking ahead, Kansas City forester Kevin Lapointe says homeowners should plant a diverse variety of trees so that when disaster strikes it doesn’t wipe out too much of the city’s green canopy. The McGee Street plantings, for instance, involve five kinds of trees.
Protecting trees takes time, effort and money.
The effort is well worth it. Trees provide beauty and shade. They have been one of Kansas City’s well-promoted selling points for many years — and deserve to continue being one of our distinctive features for a long time to come.