Norwalk Street Department employees started pulling down the ash trees on Shady Lane Drive and Executive Drive late Thursday afternoon.
"It's all part of the program to remove all the ash trees in the city," said safety-service director Dale Sheppard, referring to the city's 2005 $10,000 grant. "I think we're done with Shady Lane as we speak (Friday afternoon) and will move onto Executive."
Sheppard explained that the Emerald Ash Borer bug gets into the trees, eats under the bark and stops the nutrients from going from the roots to the crown of the trees.
"Then when that happens, over time the tree dies," he said. "The Ohio Department of Foresty says this happens within five years."
Sheppard said even though none of the 90 trees showed evidence of being infected, it's less expensive for the city to take them down now, rather than having an outside contractor later eliminate older trees that are guaranteed to die.
When getting the grant, Norwalk had to spend $10,000 to remove the trees. Although that money was spent two years ago, the city promised to eliminate all the ash trees in right-of ways for the four years after Norwalk received the grant.
"The Ohio Department of Foresty gave us $10,000 to put new trees in," Sheppard said. "We planted about 50 percent more trees than we removed."
Street department superintendent Dick Moore estimated three or four of his employees took the down the trees Thursday. About five workers were involved in Friday's process.
Once the 90 trees are pulled, they are taken to Norwalk Landscape Materials to be turned into mulch or compost.
"The heat generated in that process kills the bug," Sheppard said. "I'm under the impression that you can take the mulch out of the area, but not the firewood."
Moore said the trees don't create a lot of mulch because they're so small. Each tree on Shady Lane Drive is about two to three inches in diameter and has an average height of eight to 10 feet.
"The ones on Executive are older and will be bigger," Moore added.
The project should be done by Tuesday.