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Article updated: 4/20/2012 12:02 AM

Huntley makes plans to replace destroyed ash trees

By Lenore T. Adkins

The emerald ash borer has ravaged trees all across the state, but Huntley has received a grant to help replace some of the ones that died in the bug's wake.

In February, the village received a $10,000 Illinois Urban Forest Restoration grant to help replace some of the ash trees it lost to the bug. Thursday night, the village board gave preliminary approval to the staff's plan that outlines how to divvy up the money.

The money will help replace 60 ash trees through the village's 50/50 Residential Parkway Tree Program, in which Huntley pays for half the trees on public property and the resident pays the other half.

While property in the right of way is considered public, residents, per village ordinance, are responsible for their maintenance.

The grant will cover 25 new trees in the Huntley Cove subdivision, which costs $6,425. This is the only project that exclusively uses grant money.

Another $2,640 in grant funds will be used to replace a varying number of trees elsewhere and help offset the village's portion of the 50/50 program, which is $9,825.

Twenty-one trees will go to Sun City, nine are slated for Woodcreek, two are reserved for Huntley Meadows and Cider Grove, and Southwind and Wing Pointe will each receive one replacement tree.

The $935 remaining will be used to offset Huntley's portion of its 50/50 program in the fall.

Ever since the ash borer was first spotted in northern Illinois in 2006, "The Green Menace" has been found in more than 100 communities in the state.

Emerging adults form D-shaped holes in diseased trees after lying dormant during the winter.

The metallic-green pest develops from wormlike larva that robs the trees of its nutrients.

Dead branches at the tops of trees and increased woodpecker activity are signs of ash borer infestation.

Of the 2,288 ash trees in Huntley, authorities estimate they have uprooted about 300 since their removal program began three years ago.

The village removed 135 trees last year and officials expect to remove twice that amount this year because the disease is spreading, said Barb Read, the village's management assistant who is overseeing the grant. These days, it costs $297 to remove just one tree and officials have budgeted $20,000 for the last three years of the 50/50 program.

Rather than getting rid of all the trees at once, the village is removing them gradually.

"It kind of eases the visual burden for the residents," Read said.

This grant marks the only financial assistance Huntley has received toward its tree removal program,

The trees will be planted next month. If you think you have a diseased ash tree on the public right of way near your house, call the village at (847) 515-5200.

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