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.