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Foreign invader prompts Webster Groves to chop down Ash trees

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WEBSTER GROVES, MO (KTVI) – In a city with a name like Webster Groves, tree lined streets are a big part of its identity.

It's earned the distinction of “Tree City USA” since the 1983.

But one neighborhood’s stately trees are turning to stumps.

Addie Tomber lives in the Webster Forest subdivision.

“[I] drove in and noticed immediately the forest part of Webster Forest was gone,” said Addie Tomber.

Dozens got the chop. And more are about to go.

The city says the Ash Borer Beetle is killing the trees, which are a becoming a public hazard and liability.

“They become very dry and brittle,” said Webster Groves Assistant Director of Public Works, Todd Rehg. “Branches can break off blow over in wind storms and cause property damage and possibly cause injury or death to a citizen walking by,” he said.

Public Works plans on cutting down 210 Ash Trees along the right-of-way, nearly 50 of which are in Webster Forest. Neighbors wonder if and when the city will ever replace them.

The city says it’s first priority is to remove the danger, then in the future it will make a budget for replanting, which will need city council approval.

Until then, residents, like Addie are considering planting their own trees to replace the canopy that took 37 years to grow.

“The Groves will return I hope,” Addie said.