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Emerald Ash Borer a $2.5 Million Problem for Palatine

The village anticipates having to remove and replace 4,300 ash trees over the next eight years.

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is going to be an expensive problem for Palatine over the next eight years.

At the May 21 village council meeting, Director of Public Works Matthew Barry outlined changes in Palatine’s strategy for dealing with the emerald ash borer, a tree-killing green beetle native to Asia.

Barry said he anticipates the village having to spend $2.5 million on the removal and replacement of some 4,300 remaining Ash trees in Palatine.

The village council voted Monday night to revise its EAB tree removal and replacement strategy. The original plan, adopted in 2007 in accordance with recommendations from the Department of Agriculture, called for the removal all ash trees within a half-mile of any found infestation. At that time Palatine had 4,686 ash trees, or 19 percent of its parkway.

In 2008, EAB presence was confirmed on the east side of town, and in 2009 Palatine amended its strategy to take a more conservative approach of removing dead and dying ash trees, rather than the removal of all ash trees within a certain radius of a known infestation.

Palatine’s updated plan for 2012 still involves removing and replacing ash trees with different varieties as they decline or die, and the village will continue to provide technical guidance to owners of private ash trees, as possible.

The changes to the program involve eliminating a low-interest loan program for residents to assist with private trees, coordinating the contractual removal of private ash trees and requiring of a permit to remove a private ash tree. Barry said the village found these steps to be administratively burdensome and cost prohibitive.

Residents will still be able chemically treat public trees at their own expense if they wish, but that is not something the village will be funding.

“We did do some significant research on our part to see if we should consider incorporating chemical treatment in our strategy,” Barry said. “With a lack of prudent success to save or significantly delay the decline or death of an ash tree, we do not recommend that being incorporated, not to mention the cost of it being $100 per tree, every other year,” he said.

Since 2008, 400 Ash Trees have been removed and replaced. This year, the village expects to remove and replace 500 trees costing about $125,000 in capital funding. The village has been awarded planting grants from the Department of Agriculture and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus totaling $37,000 since 2011, to help offset the costs.

Bucephalus May 23, 2012 at 02:32 PM
It's a shame, ashes are some of the more attractive trees. It's going to be real noticeable when 20% of the trees are small, new plantings. With any luck at least we'll learn that the uniform streets of tree planted during the 1950s and 60s were a terrible mistake.
Catherine May 23, 2012 at 03:14 PM
Is there any way to find out which trees/areas are slated for this terrible action?
Cassandra May 23, 2012 at 03:16 PM
IT'S CHEAPER TO TREAT, YOU IDIOTS! LOOK AT WEST CHICAGO!
Scott May 23, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Treatment is not very effective. But the village does allow the homeowner to treat at their own expense should they so desire.
Jim May 23, 2012 at 07:34 PM
Treatment is not very effective? The University of Illinois study on insecticides for EAB says that trunk injection is 99% effective. It's interesting that Barry says "treatment is not prudent." The Society Of Municipal Arborists this month published its findings that treatment is the most "prudent and practical" approach. Read it here: http://www.isa-arbor.com/newsletters/newsletter.aspx?ArticleID=186&utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ISAToday/May2012 http://www.urban-forestry.com/ http://www.urban-forestry.com/assets/documents/eab/sma-eab-position-paper.pdf http://www.urban-forestry.com/assets/documents/eab/eab-toolkit.pdf
CaB May 23, 2012 at 08:53 PM
We have an Ash tree in our yard that I'd like to have checked and treated. Can anyone recommend a reputable service? I'd hate to lose our tree!
Scott May 23, 2012 at 09:39 PM
Sounds like trying to save most of the trees is not an option for most towns: "Communities that plan to save all local ash trees (preservation) will need to weigh long term issues of treatment costs, materials, and methods, as well as legal right of entry or code enforcement techniques to treat trees on private property. Such an ambitious approach would be a huge logistical and financial challenge, and will not be a realistic option in most cases; nor is every ash tree in a community likely worth preservation. Most plans will fall somewhere between extirpation and preservation, in the category of ash conservation. • Ash extirpation – which is the total removal of all ash trees. • Ash conservation – which focuses on saving an optimal amount of ash canopy. • Ash Preservation – which is the non-removal of any ash tree."

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