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Article updated: 5/16/2012 12:01 PM

Carpentersville finding ways to eradicate emerald ash borer

Carpentersville plans to remove ash trees, will replace with diverse tree population

By Lenore T. Adkins

Carpentersville officials are kicking around ways to keep the emerald ash borer from ever striking its trees again.

Tuesday night, Public Works Director Bob Cole outlined two pricing options for ash tree removal and replacement, while trustees briefly discussed a cost-share program to replace trees in the public way.

Cole estimates there are 2,024 ash trees in Carpentersville. Of those, 1,856 are of the smaller variety found mostly on the east side of town while 168 trees are larger and all over the village.

The first plan, which involves hiring experts to remove all the ash trees, is estimated to cost $952,400. The second one would cost $766,800, a figure that's almost $186,000 less because it would save money by using existing staff to remove the smaller trees, Cole said. The pricing is the "worst-case scenario," he said.

"We can take those down in-house," Cole said.

Cole estimates it would cost $250 to replace each tree, but he's willing to knock that price down by using multiple vendors.

Trustee Brad McFeggan also spoke of a need to diversify the future tree population.

"You're going to want to buy some of the more expensive trees and some of the cheap trees because we've got to be diversified so 40 years down the road, the 'emerald maple ash borer' comes to the United States, we're not having our streets lined with 30 maples versus getting a good mixture," McFeggan said.

As well, the village can budget between $65,000 and $75,000 for a cost-share, tree-replacement program between the village and residents, Village Manager J. Mark Rooney said.

The details still need to be worked out, but Rooney envisions capping the program at a certain dollar amount so the village wouldn't be on the hook for the really expensive trees.

Only trees in the public right of way would qualify for the program

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.

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

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

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

Last winter, public works employees uprooted 70 diseased ash trees in Carpentersville, Cole said.

The board is expected to review a draft proposal of both programs at the June 5 meeting.

Eradicate: 'Green Menace' found across northern Illinois

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