Landmark Tree in Riverside Ruined by Insect

RIVERSIDE, Pa. -- A large tree in Northumberland County must be cut down after being destroyed by an invasive bug.

There are a lot of trees in Riverside, but Pastor William Conrad refers to one as "the tree." It's easy to see why. The ash tree measures nearly 21 feet around.

"I've waxed my car under it and enjoyed its shade for many years," said Pastor Conrad.

"It was good up until about two years ago, and then it died," said Suzi Concini.

The tree outside the Danville Assembly of God Church is the latest victim of the emerald ash borer. The insect from Asia has infected ash trees all across Pennsylvania. Now, this tree must be cut down.

"I saw limbs falling off after wind storms, and I didn't relate it to the insect, but that was the problem," said Conrad.

Danville Assembly of God Church was built in 1878. Pastor Conrad did some research and found that this tree is much older than that.

"That's 350 years old. It was here in the mid-1600s, so it's witnessed a lot."

Suzi Concini has lived across the street from the tree for more than 60 years. She's sad to see it go but knows it has to.

"I'm afraid that it's going to fall down and either fall on the church, fall on the parsonage, or fall on my house," Concini said.

Pastor Conrad said once the tree comes down, he would like to plant another one in its place.

He says he hoped someone would buy the wood once the tree is cut down but it looks as though the church will have to foot the entire bill.

The plan is to have the old ash tree cut down as soon as possible.

Get more information from DCNR on the emerald ash borer here.