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updated: 2/8/2012 5:22 AM

Carol Stream's ash borer fight gets more expensive

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  • Carol Stream will spend an additional $30,000 to remove another 109 trees infected with the emerald ash borer, a pesky insect that made its first appearance in Illinois in 2006.

       Carol Stream will spend an additional $30,000 to remove another 109 trees infected with the emerald ash borer, a pesky insect that made its first appearance in Illinois in 2006.
    Rick West | Staff Photographer

  • Video: Emerald ash borer life cycle

 
 

Trees infected with the emerald ash borer throughout Carol Stream are deteriorating faster than officials expected, which has resulted in more money being allocated to fix the problem.

Last summer the village board approved a $58,000 contract with Ciosek Tree Service to remove damaged parkway trees after a survey by village arborists found about 200 additional trees would have to be removed, in addition to already-budgeted tree removal work.

Since then, arborists have recommended another 109 trees be removed, and this week, the board approved spending $30,000 to do it.

All costs are being funded through a $2.25 million fund the village set aside in 2007 to deal with the ash borer problem.

Public Works Director Phil Modaff said the village first removed about 40 trees during the fall of 2010, but the rate of decline accelerated the following spring and summer -- compounded by the fact that heavy storms damaged many more trees.

"At the time we asked for $58,000, we thought that was a good number, but we saw a quicker rate of decline," Modaff said. "At the beginning we took the word of the experts that we were expecting to lose our entire ash tree population. But nobody could say how fast it would happen."

Modaff estimated as many as 400 trees will have to be taken down next fiscal year, which begins May 1.

As it stands today, there are about 2,500 ash trees remaining in the village, he said.

The village's existing contract with Ciosek allows for two one-year extensions. Though the total cost for tree removal may vary from year to year, rates are locked in according to the diameter of each tree to be removed, Modaff said.

For example, a 15-foot diameter tree would cost $220 to remove.

The village already has purchased more than 2,000 trees, which are growing at the St. Aubin Nursery, to plant on village parkways in place of removed ash trees. About 300 trees will be planted each year -- half in the spring and half in the fall.

"As we're cutting them down, we're putting new ones in," Modaff said.

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