When a tree must be removed and the chips have settled, deciding what to replace it with often comes next. Emotions and practicality aside, there are several questions that can help make that decision. What is the primary objective of a new tree? What will best match the site and thrive? Do you want a shade tree to leave as a legacy? Do you want something novel that adds interest to your property?
While we mourn the destruction of untreated ash trees due to the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). We can learn from similar occurrences, such as Dutch Elm disease, which caused wholesale tree removals 50 years ago. Diversity of tree species will reduce the risk of loss from one issue, such as EAB. A general rule suggests a tree population should include no more than 10% of any one species, 20% of any one genus, or 30% of any family.
Among my personal favorites to see as a direct replacement for ash would be Chinkapin Oak, Ginkgo, ‘Chicagoland’ Hackberry, and Kentucky Coffeetree. The form and mature size of each is similar to most ash. If you determine a change is needed, then there are also many other ‘fun’ options. For instance, if your replanting area has become shaded as other trees have grown, you may want to plant smaller sized understory trees like ‘Firespire®’ Musclewood, Common or Vernal Witch-hazel, or Cornelian cherry Dogwood. For the best results, match the type of tree to its new environment. We can also perform an assessment of the soil and surrounding conditions to guide your future investments and plant healthcare.
I recommend you call your Wachtel Tree Science ISA Certified Arborist to setup a review of your planting area. We can find the right tree for the right place, whether we plant it, or you do.