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Ash bore posing danger to lilac bushes

MASON CITY – The 279 lilac bushes planted along 19th Street SE are slowly being killed by the ash/lilac bore.

So far, only 12 of the bushes have died.

Neighborhood volunteer Chris Watts, who was instrumental in the planting of the bushes 10 years ago and the maintenance and upkeep of the area, has called in expert horticulturist Kevin Hardy to battle the evil critters.

Hardy and Watts (pictured) were on the scene Thursday afternoon inspecting the damage the bores had already done.  Hardy was there spraying an insecticide that he hopes will cure the problem. The aim is to stop this infestation from spreading further into the remaining two block area.

Since the street widening project completed some months ago on 19th Street SE, along with the new 8 foot walking trail, the lilacs have been an exceptional backdrop and greatly enhanced the area.

“The Georgia Hanford Neighborhood is in need of additional donations to fix this problem,” said Watts. “Replacement plants, new plants for the 4th block and spraying costs. Also, from South Carolina east to Waste Management, the neighborhood, along with Dave Johnson, hope to extend the hedge.”

Thanks to volunteers like Watts, Mason City can become a better place.

“We are currently working with the City and the neighboring properties to realize improvement” in this southeast Mason City neighborhood, Watts said. “What we need is people to write checks to either the Georgia Hanford Neighborhood or to Natural Plus Nursery. Mail these checks to Nancy Solberg, Treasurer, at 303 19th St. S.E. or Chris Watts, Chairman at 237 19th St. S.E.”

Each plant is expected to cost $20.00 depending on the variety planted.

Watts suggested that those interested could purchase a bush in memorial or just to see this area of town continue to improve.

Watts continues to mow the grass under the bushes to keep the area looking good and has more plans for Georgia Hanford Park, including a regulation size basketball court, ball diamond improvements and possibly a second shelter house.

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