Missouri Department of Conservation awards Tree Resource Improvement Grant

The Missouri Department of Conservation awarded Tower Grove Park a $9,890 Tree Resource Improvement Grant to remove six ash trees. Unfortunately, the trees are susceptible to the emerald ash borer beetle, Agrilus planipennis.

While the adult beetles eat the leaves, the larvae cause the most damage by feeding on the inner bark, disrupting the tree’s ability to transport water and nutrients. Since 2002, hundreds of millions of ash trees have been destroyed by the beetle.   

“An ecological catastrophe is unfolding across the upper Midwest and is spreading outward, as scientists struggle to find solutions to the latest insect invasion: emerald ash borer,” according to Dr. Deborah G. McCullough from AmericanForests.org.

In 2015, Tower Grove Park adopted an Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan. The six ash trees have been recommended for removal. The Park’s plan states that out of 121 ash trees identified in 2016, 41 trees are to be preserved and treated.

Will Rein, Director of Operations and Certified Arborist at Tower Grove Park, confirmed, “The treatment is in line with our work as a Level II Accredited Arboretum and our mission to have a diverse collection of healthy trees for visitors in the community and from around the world.” 

After the work is completed during the winter of 2019 there will only be eight ash trees scheduled for removal, and the remaining ash trees will be treated.

With decades of thorough care and maintenance, Tower Grove Park’s ash tree collection is small and healthy enough to be protected from the invasive beetle. In 2016 susceptible ash trees made up only 3% of our collection, while some communities in west St. Louis County had ash trees totaling 30% of their trees.

Stay tuned as we monitor the progress of our ash tree treatment and learn about all our 7,000 trees on our interactive map at www.towergroveparkmap.org.


About Tower Grove Park

One of only seven National Historic Landmark parks in the nation along with New York Central Park and Boston Public Garden, Tower Grove Park features an internationally renowned collection of Victorian park architecture and an internationally recognized arboretum, serving over 2.5 million visitors annually. 

Michelle Lawrence