ROXBURY, NJ – The tree-lined streets of one part of Succasunna are about to become less shady as crews will soon embark on removing about 35 ash trees that were killed by the Emerald Ash Borer.

Those trees, in the area of Righter Road and Condit Street are among more than 50 to be removed in the next several weeks, said Roxbury officials. The work will be performed by Roxbury-based Tree King, which is under contract with a government cooperative for tree services, said Roxbury Department of Public Works Director Rick Blood.

“They’re not in danger of falling,” Blood said. “They are just starting to die. They could probably stand for a couple more years.”

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However, allowing the affected trees to remain standing after they die puts the public in danger from falling limbs. So the township – which saw the problem coming and budgeted extra money to deal with it – is not waiting, he explained.

The tree culling will cost about $500 per tree, Blood said.

Replanting Planned

Ash trees were commonly used to line streets of Roxbury developments. Blood said there are about 350 throughout the township. All of them have been impacted by the Emerald Ash Borer and all of them will eventually be felled, probably within the next two years, according to Blood.

He and Roxbury Mayor Bob DeFillippo noted the township will plant new trees after the ash are removed. Roxbury Township Manager John Shepherd said the goal will be to choose species of shade trees that will not “heave” sidewalks due to shallow root systems.

]Blood said ash trees were chosen for roadside planting because they, being hardwoods, are resistant to road salt. However, ash throughout the region have become victims of the Emerald Ash Borer. In June, county officials announced Tree King would be taking down nearly 900 of the trees in the first phase of a county-wide effort.

Morris County Administrator John Bonanni said the county had no option. “It would be costly, with no guarantee of effectiveness, to try to save the ash trees,” he explained.”

Since it was first found in 2002, in Michigan and Ontario, the Emerald Ash Borer  has killed millions of ash trees in North America, according to the county. Once infested with the insect, most untreated ash trees die within five years and “become brittle and difficult-to-remove,” the county said.