April 18, 2018

The emerald ash borer beetle will not get the last laugh this time. The gnawing beetles, which have invaded the United States from their native Asia in recent years, infected about 70 ash trees along the Susquehanna River levee trail, killing many of them, according to the Luzerne County Flood Protection Authority.

The authority removed the dead and infected trees last year, according to Christopher Belleman, the authority’s executive director.

Now the authority has started to plant new trees to replace the ones it removed last year, Belleman said in an email sent Wednesday.

“The new trees are a mix of hardy tree species to build diversity and to provide shade,” Belleman wrote.

The trees planted this year include red maples, London planetrees, hackberries and accolade elms, according to Belleman.

The London planetree is a large deciduous tree that normally grows to a height of up to 100 feet.

The funding to purchase the trees came from a $5,100 grant obtained through the PA Urban and Community Forestry Council, Belleman wrote.

The new tree planting campaign will conclude on Friday morning, when student volunteers from King’s College and Wilkes University will plant new replacement trees on the authority’s property at Church Street and Rutter Avenue in Kingston, according to Belleman.