For years, Elk Grove Village has been bracing for an emerald ash borer invasion.
Now, they are here.
And, the village is ready to tackle a problem that has plagued many suburbs, said Elk Grove Village Mayor Craig Johnson Tuesday.
Johnson said the ash borer's presence was confirmed last month and it's the first time it has been documented in town.
In anticipation of the intruders, village officials in 2006 decided to establish a tree farm near Rockford. Every year since 2007, the village has spent $80,000 to plant 500 trees, ranging in age between 5 years and 7 years old, that would eventually be used to replace trees that succumb to the ash borer infestation.
"We had the foresight to set all this up," Johnson said. "About a third of our trees are ash trees. We've got mature trees stocked to replace them. The ones we planted in 2007 are ready to harvest in 2012."
The village has just under 5,000 trees, one third of which are ash.
Officials have identified 300 parkway trees along Grissom Trail, on the west side of town, and Somerset Lane, on the east side, that need to be replaced this winter.
They will be replaced with 10- to 12-year-old oaks, maples and other varieties of trees, four inches in diameter and about 16 feet tall.
"Most towns put in trees that are three to four years old," Johnson said. "We feel that we are ahead of the game right now. We're putting in mature trees with some canopy."
The village board has set aside money to remove the infested trees and replace them at a cost of roughly $300 to $400 per tree, he added.
"We've already got prices for taking the trees down locked in, and we've got the prices locked in for replanting," Johnson said. "(Other) communities didn't prepare for it. We did. We can hopefully hold off losing all the trees at once and our change can be a more integrated plan. Hopefully, it won't be such a severe impact to the community."
Johnson said officials will continue to monitor all village trees to determine if they need to be sprayed to protect against the ash borers.
Residents who have infested trees on private property can take advantage of the village's discounted rate for tree removal by using Powell Tree Care on Devon Avenue in unincorporated Cook County, he said.