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ALB - Notice of Infestation & Tree Removal

Related Pages: City Manager » Asian Longhorned Beetles

Q:
Why are you removing trees from my property?
 A:

In August of 2008, officials from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) confirmed the presence of Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) in the City of Worcester. ALB (Anoplophora glabripennis) is a destructive insect known to infest all species of the following trees: maple, horsechestnut, birch, poplar, willow, elm, ash, European mountain-ash, London plane tree, mimosa, and hackberry (also known as ALB "host trees"). The ALB will kill infested trees and if left unchecked it will continue to spread to adjacent host trees with the same end result.

Years of scientific research on the invasive beetle in the United States and Asia, coupled with our work in other communities fighting infestations, have reinforced that the only proven method of control and eradication of this destructive insect is the complete removal of infested trees (to include stump grinding) and the removal of select adjacent host trees that have a high risk of being infested. ALB host trees within a prescribed distance from infested trees are treated with an insecticide in the spring to reduce the beetle populations. Several years of treatments and intensive follow-up survey of the regulated area take place to ensure that no beetles survive. Additional signs of infestation require the prompt removal of those infested trees.

A decision was made by the Massachusetts ALB Cooperative to pursue eradication through the removal of infested trees and select high-risk host trees on a case-by-case basis, as well as chemical treatments of host trees within a half-mile of infested trees. It is believed that this approach balances eradication with preservation. The process will require subsequent years of intensive surveys, removals of infested trees, and chemical treatments of host trees until the regulated area can be declared ALB-free.

Q:
Do these trees have to be removed from my property?
 A:

Unfortunately, yes. This action is not being taken lightly. Leaving infested trees standing will prolong and spread the infestation to more trees and surrounding communities throughout New England. This will have a devastating impact on our forests and industry.

Q:
If my tree is not infested, why do you have to cut it down?
 A:

The most certain way to stop the spread of ALB is to remove all the infested trees and select high-risk exposed host trees located in close proximity to known infested trees. It is for this reason that select high-risk exposed host trees may need to be removed on a case-by-case, location-by-location basis.

Q:
Can I refuse to have you cut down my trees?
 A:

The Massachusetts ALB Cooperative relies on the cooperation of all residents in its efforts to eliminate this destructive pest from our City. This effort includes removing all infested trees and select high-risk exposed host trees on a case-by-case basis in order to stop the ALB from spreading to non-infested areas.

Both federal and state laws authorize the issuance of orders to property owners requiring the removal of infested and high-risk host trees. While we hope to carry out this effort cooperatively, if necessary, we will obtain a court order from the Superior Court enforcing these orders and authorizing the removal of infested and high-risk host trees from the property.

Q:
Will you be replacing the tree(s) that you cut down?
 A:

Yes, trees will be replaced in a manner appropriate to the site. A reforestation plan is being formulated to replace the trees removed with varieties of trees that are not susceptible to a future ALB attack. This effort will be performed by the Massachusetts ALB Cooperative at no cost to the homeowner. Property owners will be able to participate in this process.

Q:
How many trees will you be removing?
 A:

It is estimated that approximately 4,500 trees are infested and will need to be removed to prevent this destructive pest from spreading to non-infested areas. Additionally, there are a high number of high-risk host trees (approximately 15,000) that may be subject to removal.

Q:
Who will remove the trees from my property?
 A:

All tree removals and chipping will be performed by the Massachusetts ALB Cooperative, or those contracted by the Program, at no charge to the business or homeowner. The Commonwealth's Department of Conservation and Recreation issued contracts to a limited number of qualified and authorized forestry and tree removal experts. They will have identification and credentials. Please do not hesitate to ask for this information. Their charge will be to work effectively and in a manner protective to the private property on which they will be working.

Q:
How will I know when you are coming and when will it be done?
 A:

The Massachusetts ALB Cooperative, or those contracted to perform work on behalf of the Program, will visit your property 5 to 10 business days prior to removal work. At that time, you will be advised of a timeline for removals.

Q:
What happens if there are damages to my property as a result of tree removal work?
 A:

In some cases, contractors will utilize heavy machinery in order to remove trees from a property. Contractors will use the utmost care when removing trees and will leave the property in the same condition that it was found. If any destruction is caused during the removal process, it will be restored to the original condition in which it was found as soon as possible and at no cost to the homeowner.

Q:
May I opt to have ALB host trees located on my property removed by the ALB Cooperative at this time?
 A:

Yes. You may opt to have the ALB Program remove host trees on your property at one time during this phase of the removal process. When you completed the "Notice of Infestation and Treatment Order Regarding Asian Longhorned Beetle" (Tree Removal Acknowledgement and Permission Form), you had the ability to indicate on the enclosed form if you preferred to remove host trees at that time.

Q:
What if I forget to send back the enclosed notification form?
 A:

If we do not receive the signed notification form within 5 - 7 business days, the Massachusetts ALB Cooperative will contact you to facilitate the letter's return. We ask that you work cooperatively with us during this time and return the form as quickly as possible.

Q:
What will it cost me to have the infested tree(s) removed from my property?
 A:

All tree removals and chipping will be performed by the Massachusetts ALB Cooperative, or those contracted by the Program, at no charge to the business or homeowner.

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