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Park Service to remove ash trees from Arch grounds

An adult emerald ash borer.
(David Cappaert, Michigan State University)
An adult emerald ash borer.

Nearly half of the trees on the grounds of the Gateway Arch will be removed and replaced with a different species.

The National Park Service said Thursday that more than 900 Rosehill ash trees will be taken out over concerns about the threat posed by the Emerald Ash Borer, a beetle that has killed millions of ash trees in 15 states. Officials at the Arch say the ash trees on the grounds are also showing signs of decline from urban factors like air pollution and less than ideal soil.

No timetable for the removal is set. Officials plan to replace the ash trees with a single species despite misgivings by some experts who say that invites trouble if the replacement species becomes susceptible to disease or insect infestation.

The public was asked for their input on the plan back in August.