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updated: 6/3/2011 12:10 PM

Cary trees infested by emerald ash borer

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The emerald ash borer has been found in Cary, and the village is urging residents to check their ash trees for signs of infestation.

The tree-killing beetle was first detected in mid-May by public works staff in village parkway trees along Big Bear Trail in the Cimarron subdivision, public works Director Cris Papierniak said. Three trees there have been cut down so far after the Illinois Department of Agriculture confirmed the presence of the ash borer, Papierniak said. The village doesn't have a tree replacement program, he added.

Surrounding communities like Algonquin, Lake in the Hills, Crystal Lake and North Barrington also have been infested, according to the department of agriculture's website. "It's an area-wide problem," Papierniak said.

The metallic green beetle, measuring a half-inch in length, damages the tree's ability to get nutrients, Papierniak explained. Among the first sings of infestation include new leaves failing to grow on the top part of the tree, vertical cracks in the bark, an excessive number of new limbs growing from the lower part of the trunk, and woodpecker damage from the birds feeding on the beetles.

Upon request by residents, the village will cut down infested parkway ash trees for free, he said. Cutting down a tree normally costs about $650, Papierniak said.

Residents who want to try to save their infested ash trees have the option of treating them at a cost of $100 to $300 per year on average, Papierniak said. Current studies show treatment will have to continue for the entire life of the tree, he said. However, "if you see about 30 to 40 percent die back in the crown, the tree is probably too gone" to be saved, he added.

The village will release an official informational pamphlet in the next couple of weeks, Papierniak said. It will be included in the village's weekly e-newsletter and available at village hall, he said.

For details, call the public works department at (847) 639-0003.