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updated: 7/14/2011 5:59 PM

Libertyville will share tree buying power

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Libertyville homeowners who lose parkway trees to the emerald ash borer can get a discount on a replacement.

Village crews have removed seven ash trees since the destructive pest was discovered last summer in Libertyville. Another 27 ash trees in the parkway are dead and are scheduled to be removed.

While a 50-50 tree replacement program was discontinued as part of budget cuts, the village plans to leverage its buying power to offer a discount.

Village staff was instructed to check around, and struck a deal with Mill Creek Nursery based on a 20-tree minimum order.

Homeowners will be able to select a replacement tree from among five species at a cost of $254, a discount of 15 percent. The cost includes planting and a one-year warranty. Village staff will order the trees, which will be 2 inches to 2.5 inches in diameter.

"We're notifying the residents whose 27 trees are impacted this year. I hope people will take us up on that," said village Trustee Drew Cullum, who chairs the board's parks and recreation committee.

The seven residents who had ash trees removed last year also will be notified.

Tree replacement has been an ongoing topic for the committee, which shared its findings this week with the full village board.

The village wants to restore the 50-50 program at some point depending on funding, according to Village Administrator Kevin Bowens.

Letters, door hangers and educational materials regarding the emerald ash borer will be revised to include the information on discounts.

Crews were to have removed the dead ash trees in a week or so, but that has been delayed because of the cleanup from Monday's storm.

The dead ash trees were found mainly on Mayfair Drive, Dawes Street and Juniper Parkway in the southwest part of the village. About 2,300, or one in four parkway trees owned by the village, are ash but the concentrations vary.

Meanwhile, the parks and recreation committee will discuss options to removing trees, such as chemical treatments, to combat the spread of the emerald ash borer.

"We are discussing and trying to educate ourselves on other alternatives," Cullum said.