Ash trees come down at Roeland Park’s R Park, victims of Emerald Ash Borer

Only piles of sawdust are left where the ash trees once stood in R Park.
Only piles of sawdust are left where the ash trees once stood in R Park.

The ash trees that lined Roeland Park’s R Park are nearly gone. The 43 trees fell victim to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) which was discovered in a trap at the park last June.

In November, the city council approved the project to cut down the city’s ash trees and get ahead of the infestation. This week crews began cutting down the trees and removing them from the park. The mature trees were on the property before it became a park. The site formerly was home to the Roeland Park Elementary School.

Nearly all of the city’s ash trees that are on public property were found in the park. The EAB was first confirmed in Johnson County in July 2013 in a trap at the Johnson County landfill. The R Park confirmation was the first to put the EAB firmly in northeast Johnson County.

New trees will be planted this spring around the park’s recently built walking trail. Parks committee chairman Greg Smith said the city will have a New Tree Celebration in May when the new trees are planted. The celebration also will serve as the city’s Arbor Day and Earth Day observance even though slightly off schedule.

The city’s Easter Egg Hunt also will move to Nall Park this year on April 4.

Crews were continuing to cut trees this morning in the park.
Crews were continuing to cut trees this morning in the park.