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Photo by Mark Pace/Chattanooga Times Free Press — Willow oak trees are seen along Riverfront Parkway Tuesday May 16, 2018. City workers discovered an infestation of Lecanium Scale on many of the trees. Each of the trees should look the same, but the most impacted trees are smaller and more yellow in color.

Work to treat more than 500 infested trees in the heart of Chattanooga began earlier this week.

ABC Tree Company was awarded a contract to treat 562 oak trees infested with Lecanium Scale — a small insect that threatens the health of the trees — along Broad Street, Market Street and Riverfront Parkway, according to city of Chattanooga Recycling Coordinator Kim Smith.

The trees will be treated each evening for the next several weeks. The total cost of the treatment is $17,711.

City forester Gene Hyde and other Public Works employees will examine the trees later this year in the fall or winter, he said. At that time, they will determine which trees need to be replaced. The cost of replacing a tree is approximately $300. Only a small percentage of trees will need to be replaced, according to city spokeswoman Richel Albright, but Hyde does believe at least some of the trees infested with Lecanium Scale will need to be replaced.

Hyde will continue to monitor the trees and will have a better idea on how successful the treatment is next spring.

Contact staff writer Mark Pace at mpace@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6659. Follow him on Twitter @themarkpace and on Facebook @ChattanoogaOutdoors.

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