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updated: 6/6/2011 5:58 PM

West Dundee to remove at least 40 infected ash trees

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As West Dundee continues its uphill battle with the emerald ash borer, authorities are estimating they will need to cut down at least 40 diseased ash trees this summer all over the village.

The good news is the village has managed to set $15,000 aside toward replacing at least 65 trees in residential areas. The ongoing budget crunch forced the village to abandon its tree replacement program in 2007, but this year the village was able to save enough money to bring it back, said Joe Cavallaro.

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Authorities estimate that 30 percent of the 5,524 trees on residential property are ash. Authorities discovered the ash borer invasion in 2009 when 15 trees were infected.

In 2010, the disease spread to 30 other trees, Public Works Director Rich Babica said. Staff spent 678 hours on tree maintenance, which includes removal in 2010 and paid $8,654 for an outside company to uproot 18 trees near utility lines.

Ash borers are responsible for taking down at least 20 million trees in the state.

"It's going to fundamentally change the landscape of northern Illinois," Babica said of the disease. "It's going to alter the tree canopy."

So far this fiscal year, which began May 1, the village has removed six trees, Babica said.

Tree removal will continue through early July -- before the ash borer larvae mature into adults and take flight to find new prey. Removal will resume after the second week in August and the village hopes to start replacing trees in early November.

If you suspect your trees are infected with the bug or some other disease, call the public works department at (847) 741-3815 To learn more about the emerald ash borer, visit illinoiseab.com.

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