By Matt Fossen
Area foresters are saying that most of the 128 hemlock trees found in the Ithaca cemetery are infested with invasive adelgid.
The insects, which have been discovered via ubiquitous white sheen on the trees throughout the cemetery, kill trees through sucking their sap and have been found at the bases and branches of many trees. The city has responded promptly with new investments allotted by the Ithaca Common Council to fight off the insects. $6,000 has been set aside for pesticide treatment that will be applied to tree barks, as well as a previously planned $3,000 allotment for other partial treatments. According to one forester, the cost of altogether removing the infested trees themselves would land somewhere within tens of thousands of dollars, which would also be near impossible for the city’s tree crew to handle.
The cemetery goes back to the middle of the 19th century, and foresters note the subsequent historical significance of the trees as well as their environmental assets. The beginnings of the infestation are difficult to exactly date; land assessments done last year gradually showed spreading sheen marks. For the treatment itself, the time table appears to be somewhere in May or June, and would take roughly three dry weather days.