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Somerville To Cut Down More Than 100 Trees Due To Beetle Threat

SOMERVILLE (CBS) - In the city of Somerville, the trees are treasured, but a change is coming and soon many will be gone

"I'm concerned because Somerville is known for its trees and it's a beautiful street and what makes it nice is the trees," resident Heidi Lewis says.

All around the city, you see the signs. On tree after tree, warning residents many are coming down.

"It would be a shame to lose all these trees I don't understand it," Maureen Megnia says.

Somerville tree
Tree in Somerville that may be cut down due to Emerald Ash Borer (WBZ-TV)

One hundred and fifty-five trees will soon be removed and all because the threat of a beetle.

"We are trying to get word out because some blocks will be really hard hit," said Brad Rawson who works for Somerville Community Development.

The city knows it's got a problem. Rawson says the Emerald Ash Borer beetle will do major damage and he wants everyone to understand they don't have a choice.

"They will target weakened wooden trees and trees failing health first so the idea is to deny safe haven and that home because once it occurs its clustered and spread very, very rapidly," Rawson said.

But the beetle isn't here yet, it's been spotted in Boston and in several counties. So they are trying to get ahead of it.

Dan Dople will lose five trees right near his home and he wants to wait

"You could take a chance and wait until the beetle kills and same end result you have to cut down dead trees then, why not take a chance?"

But it's a risk the city says they can't afford to take. They are holding a public meeting on May 25th to inform the residents. The trees will come down in June.

They hope to put more money in the budget to plant new trees, but that has not been approved yet.

Rawson say he's been working with the City of Cambridge on this and they will be taking down 100 trees as well.

Along with taking down the trees, 750 more trees will be treated to prevent the beetles from infesting the healthier trees.

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