Volunteers remove damaged trees at Harlan Golf & Country Club
HARLAN — A group of over 20 volunteers donated their time and efforts to assist in the removal of approximately 70 trees at the Harlan Golf & Country Club last week.
Paul Leinen, member of the club’s Tree Committee, said the trees were removed to counteract the effects of the emerald ash borer and banded ash borer beetles.
“Two years ago, the drought weakened the trees,” Leinen said. According to the United States Department of Agriculture, the beetles prefer stressed ash trees in newly infested areas, and soil compaction, flooding, drought, or other problems can increase their attraction to ash trees. The larvae kill ash trees by tunneling under the bark and feeding on the part of the tree that moves water and sugars up and down the trunk. The USDA said millions of ash trees in Canada and the United States have been completely decimated.
“Last year we had some trees leaf out late and looked sickly, this spring the bark was falling off of them,” Leinen said.
After discussing the issue with specialists from both Iowa State University and Shelby County Extension & Outreach, the decision was made to remove the damaged trees.
Leinen said once all the affected trees are removed, most ash trees will be gone. “There’s a variety of other trees left unharmed.”
Leinen said Brad Schechinger of APC Tree Removal was hired to take down a dozen of the bigger trees, and the removal of the remaining trees and cleanup was done by volunteers.
“We had 20 - 25 volunteers each day. It saved the golf course several thousands of dollars,” Leinen said.
“We put three long days in, cutting down, raking up brush, taking it to the burn pile and burning it.”
Donations are now being accepted to replace the trees and to assist with stump removal. Leinen said the Country Club has a “Tree Fund” and donations are often made in memory of deceased loved ones. Donations may be made at the Country Club.
Leinen is hopeful the replanting project will start soon. “We are currently gathering up money and I have talked to our supplier to get a few more yet this year.”
The group took the weekend off and would resume clean up Monday. “Anyone who wants to come rake for a while, we will give them cold water,” Leinen said.
An estimate will be given for stump removal sometime this week. “We hope to get the stumps ground out, put dirt in them, and get ready to seed this fall.”
“Thanks to a great bunch of volunteers who belong to the club. They came out and worked several hours, and that’s how we got it done. Some brought machinery, the others brought rakes and shovels,” Leinen said.
“It’s what we do in these small towns. If something needs done, we get a group together and we do it.”