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TMCNet:  Mundelein to cut down, replace trees affected by emerald ash borer

[March 01, 2013]

Mundelein to cut down, replace trees affected by emerald ash borer

Mar 01, 2013 (Chicago Tribune - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Mundelein's public works committee announced plans to combat the village's emerald ash borer problem at its most recent meeting.

The emerald ash borer is a small, green beetle that infests ash trees, ultimately killing the tree over a period of about 10 years. The problem facing Mundelein is not unique to the village; The insect is invading the Chicagoland area at an alarming rate, said Adam Boeche, Mundelein's director of public works and engineering.
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"Without a doubt, each and every ash tree in this village will be infected in the next three to five years, if they aren't already," he said.

Boeche said Mundelein's plan to replace almost 2,000 ash trees -- about a third of the village's public canopy -- located on village property will kick into gear this summer.

Because it is not economically viable for the village to spend an estimated $1.4 million to tackle the problem in one fell swoop, Boeche said, the plan will divide the village into eight zones, with the public works department examining one zone per year. If the department finds even one tree within that zone infested with the ash borer, staff will look at each ash tree within one mile of the infected tree.

Trees found to have a problem with the beetle will be removed, and Boeche said the village plans to replace each tree it cuts down. According to Boeche, public works is looking to replace trees within 18 months of their removal, though they won't necessarily be going into the same spot as the trees that were cut down. The felled trees will be ground up -- which Boeche said kills the ash borer -- and made into mulch.

"We want to diversify so we don't have this issue again," Boeche said. "So if there's another infestation that affects a certain species [of tree], we're not as ill-equipped as we are now to manage it." Boeche said affected trees typically die within about seven to nine years. While treating the trees with chemicals would slow the spread of the beetle, he said, it would just prolong the process and wouldn't end up saving the tree.

The public works department will apply for a reforestation grant through the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, Boeche said, that if approved would provide the village with up to $20,000. Boeche said the village applied for the same grant last year but was turned down.

The village's plan does not extend to trees on private property. But the committee said the public works department will look into assisting residents with deals with private contractors to get those trees removed.

"We encourage residents to communicate with us and have us come out and take a look at their trees," Trustee Ray Semple said. "We'll be more than happy to help you identify whether it's an emerald ash problem or not." The public works department voted unanimously to recommend the plan for approval at the village's next board meeting.

dwaters@tribune.com ___ (c)2013 the Chicago Tribune Visit the Chicago Tribune at www.chicagotribune.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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