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Berwyn takes on emerald ash borer with tree survey

Published: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 11:45 a.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2013 11:46 a.m. CDT
(Shaw Media file photo)
A woman points to leaves on an ash tree in her yard that shows signs of damage caused by the emerald ash borer.

BERWYN – The city of Berwyn is looking to take pre-emptive measures against the emerald ash borer.

A survey of the city’s ash tree population – made up largely of parkway trees – began last week as part of a process that will identify trees that are already afflicted, as well as the location of all ash trees in the city.

Department of Public Works Director Robert Schiller said there are between 1,500 and 2,000 ash trees in Berwyn.

“Typically, from 9 to 11 percent of your tree population is ash,” Schiller said. “We found our first infested tree in July 2012. I’ve got 103 trees that I know are coming down.”

Schiller said he won’t know the total number of infested trees until the survey is completed.

The city is receiving a $20,000 Technical Assistance Grant from the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus through its Mitigating Emerald Ash Borer Impacts on the Urban Forest municipal grants.

The caucus administers this program with funds from the U.S. Forest Service in an effort to assist communities in managing urban forest resources that have been impacted.

The grants are made to inventory trees and produce ash borer management plans.

“Our goal is to remove the trees that are infested in a timely manner to slow or prevent the spread into the healthy trees,” Schiller said.

Part of the tree inventory being completed is a comprehensive emerald ash borer management plan that outlines tree removal and the time to replant. The plan also outlines recommendations for various species best suited for replacement of afflicted trees. Factors such as soil types, utility conditions, all goes into account in determining what to plant, he said.

A report on the survey is expected to be completed in mid-January.

“I’ll reserve an opinion until I have the report in hand,” he said. “But, I am concerned about the potential devastation that could take place.”

Schiller said there are ways to treat trees against the emerald ash borer that are available but are not necessarily proven to work. These include a spray treatment that requires new spraying every three years and can be quite costly.

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