St. Michael Catholic Cemetery Preparing For Emerald Ash Borer

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St. Michael Catholic Cemetery is removing dozens of trees this week. This is due to the emerald ash borer threat. The final resting place for more than 10,000 people is being proactive for safety reasons. 

This normally peaceful, 138-year-old cemetery in northern Sioux Falls is creating a lot of noise this week. 

“It’s sad that it happens but it needed to,” Johnson said. 

Dan Johnson with St. Michael Catholic Cemetery says 50 ash trees are coming down to get ahead of the emerald ash borer. 

“The top of the trees will start dying and falling down and we don’t want that to happen to anybody,” Johnson said.

Craig Lohr with Pro Tree Service says he’s been getting a lot of calls regarding the ash. 

“We’ve been doing a lot of injecting. We do injecting too but a lot of them are removing them,” Lohr said. 

Pro Tree has five more to do here this week at the cemetery. Lohr says it’s important to get the trees taken care of so they don’t cause safety concerns. 

“When the ash tree dies from the ash borer, they’re real brittle and a lot of them will fall. It’s better to do it when they’re green before they’re dead,” Lohr said. 

“We’re going to roll out a tree program here this next year and a lot of families have already stepped up and said they’d like to donate a tree in memory of their husband, their wife, their mom or dad, grandparents,” Johnson said.

Johnson is working with the state to make sure the cemetery plants different types of trees in the future. 

“We knew the ash borer was coming but we didn’t know it was coming this quick. When it came this summer, it was like ok, we need to do our due diligence and take care of it right now,” Johnson said. 

The hope is to plant around 40 new trees next spring. 

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