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updated: 10/16/2012 6:13 PM

Buffalo Grove to begin removing ash trees by 2014

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Buffalo Grove has been responding to the emerald ash borer so far with spot removals, but officials say that approach likely will change soon, as the village makes plans for a more aggressive mass removal program.

The plan, estimated to cost $4.5 million, calls for the removal of the more than 7,000 ash trees in the village by 2015 followed by their gradual replacement.

Public works officials said the village's ashes, which in 2009 comprised 30 percent of the Buffalo Grove's urban forest, are completely infested.

About 700 trees have been removed through spot removal efforts that will continue next year. By the end of 2013 or beginning of 2014, the village will shift to mass removals,

"We may actually have to start removing entire subdivisions at a time in order to keep the trees from becoming too dangerous," Village Manager Dane Bragg said.

Michael Skibbe, a civil engineer with the public works department, underscored the urgent need for removal, noting, "The death curve on these trees is exponential."

The trees will be replaced by a more diverse stock, with 2,700 trees from a nursery replenishing the stock over the next three years, while the village also has two growing contracts for 4,300 trees over the next three to five years. The goal is to replace trees within one year of their removal.

There was some discussion Monday of notification of residents, which includes a knock on the door or a ring of the doorbell by a member of the public works forestry section. If a resident is not home, there could be a tag on the door.

But as the village moves toward more mass removal, Bragg said the strategy will concentrate more on neighborhood meetings to notify residents.

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