WHEATON – Those driving on E Loop Road may see a greener landscape than they did a few weeks ago. The Wheaton City Forestry Division has finished the planting of 50 new trees along the road in an effort to protect trees around the area from being taken out by an invasive beetle infestation, according to a city release.
The Emerald Ash Borer has killed more than 20 million trees across the U.S., and its presence in Wheaton was confirmed in a 2010 Illinois Department of Agriculture study. The city has proactively been assessing and replacing vulnerable and infested trees since before the study, including the recent Loop Road replacements.
According to the release, the Forestry Division has been removing about 200 parkway ash trees in fair to poor condition every year since 2008.
The city allotted $350,000 to the wide-scale project, though the recent planting of Swamp White Oak, Accolade Elm, Kentucky Coffee and Common Hackberry trees was funded through a federal grant from Metropolitan Mayors Caucus for nearly $14,000.
According to the Wheaton Public Works Department, residents whose ash trees are removed to combat the infestation can participate in the Shared Cost Tree Replacement program. More information on the effort and the replacement program can be found at wheaton.il.us.