The trees are Lakeshore Park are an important part of the City of Knoxville’s Urban Tree Canopy, and the City and the Park Board are committed to using best practices in the management, protection and expansion of the urban forest at the park. As part of that process, Kasey Krause, the City’s Urban Forester, oversees the care of current trees and the planting plan for new trees.
During an inspection last fall, Kasey identified a number of large trees at the park that have contracted a chronic and fatal disease – bacterial leaf scorch. Nine pin oaks at the park contracted the disease and have died or are in critical condition. Unfortunately, there is no known cure or treatment for infected trees and no known strategy for prevention of infection. The City is in the process of removing the nine infected trees from the park.
While we are disappointed to lose the trees, the loss emphasizes the need for good forestry practices, including maintenance of a wide variety of species. Entire species can be decimated by disease or insects, as was the case with the chestnut blight and the American Chestnut (Castanea dentate), Dutch elm disease and the American Elm (Ulmus Americana), and more recently the attacks by the wooly adelgid on eastern and Carolina hemlocks (Tsuga canadensis and Tsuga caroliniana) and by the emerald ash borer on ash trees (genus Fraxinus) in the Northern United States and Canada.