When dealing with the emerald ash borer, Buffalo Grove may be more low-key than other suburban communities, but it's no less serious.
Village Forestry/Grounds Supervisor Richard Kuhl this week presented a plan to slow the spread of the tree-devouring insect, calling for the removal of infested trees -- both on public and private land -- as needed.
The problem may not be as visible as it is in towns like Wilmette, but the ash borer is just as much of a scourge to Buffalo Grove's trees. It is expected that more than one-third of the village's stock will be affected by the tiny green beetle that feeds on the foliage of ash trees and whose hatched larvae bore into the bark, cutting off food and water. Ash trees constitute 34 percent of the trees on the village's properties or parkways, officials say.
Under the plan, all infected trees on village property will be removed and eventually replaced when funding allows it. Eventually, reforestation will promote more species diversity within the village, according to the village.
A member of the village's forestry and grounds section will notify residents near the infected trees, either in person or by leaving a tag on the resident's door.
The village estimates that removal of all ash trees would carry a price tag of more than $1.3 million. The village's 2011 budget shows $35,000 for annual tree replacement, though some relief could come from an Illinois Urban Reforestation Grant through the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. Buffalo Grove is eligible to receive up to $20,000 from the grant.
If an infected tree is detected on private property, according to the plan, the village will serve notice to remove the infested tree within thirty days. If the owner refuses to remove or destroy the infested tree, the village may proceed to remove or destroy the infested tree, the plan states.
The presence of the emerald ash borer in Buffalo Grove was confirmed in September 2009 when it was sighted on private property on Barclay Boulevard.
By the end of 2010, more than 40 locations were determined, over the entire village.
"We have not really hit the biggest infestation until this fall," Kuhl said.
Two subdivisions have been identified with high infestations: the Mayfair/Vernon subdivision in Cook County, which has 152 trees slated for removal and the Newtown/Parkchester subdivision in Lake County with 93 ash trees targeted.