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Tim Wilcox: City taking action on emerald ash borer

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013 11:09 a.m. CDT

A small but destructive force of nature that has made its way from clear across another continent, the emerald ash borer, has prompted concern and a multi-national effort at control in 18 U.S. states and parts of Canada. West Chicago is among the many communities that has identified the threat to its ash tree stock and taken action.

Since 2010, the city of West Chicago has been proactive in the rescue efforts of “savable” ash trees by hiring Graf Tree Care to inspect, evaluate and tag the 2,446 ash trees that existed in the city’s parkway or on city-owned properties. As a result of Graf’s inspection, 593 ash trees were identified as being too badly infected to be saved and 1,853 ash trees that had a chance of survival through an insecticidal treatment program.

Following a cost analysis of total removal of the 2,446 ash trees projected at $1,555,100, compared to projected treatment costs for the 1,853 savable trees of about $600,000, Emerald Tree Care was hired by the city in 2011 to perform a seven-year insecticidal treatment. The treatments consist of soil saturation with fertilizer and an additional trunk injection on trees larger than 6 inches in diameter.

All things considered, in 2012 Emerald Tree Care treated 1,786 ash trees, representing only a 2.6 percent ash tree loss since insecticidal treatments began in 2011. Unfortunately, further emerald ash borer damage and a devastating storm on July 1 took 49 of the ash trees out of the treatment program.

Emerald Tree Care will be in West Chicago starting in April treating city-owned ash trees for the emerald ash borer. The company has agreed to provide identical treatments to residents, businesses and/or property owners of West Chicago at the same unit pricing offered to the city under a separate contract agreement with residents, businesses and/or property owners.

If there is interest in having the Ash trees treated by Emerald Tree Care, please contact Wayne White of Emerald Tree Care via email at savetheash@aol.com. If you have any questions or concerns about the treatment program or have difficulty contacting Mr. White, please feel free to contact me directly at 630-293-2255.

Tim Wilcox is street superintendent for the city of West Chicago

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