According to Barrington's top administrator, the village is "finally seeing the effects" of the emerald ash borer that has been killing suburban trees for nearly a decade.
Village Manager Jeff Lawler said work crews this year have been marking and cutting down more sick ash trees than any time in the past. The growing numbers of felled trees is not necessarily a bad thing, Lawler added, because the village would rather act quickly than beat around the bush.
"The sooner these trees are gone and new trees are replanted, the better," he said. "We're moving very aggressively to remove those trees so we can start replanting as soon as possible."
Lawler said the village believes that the harsh winter is partially responsible for the growing number of trees that need to be removed.
Crews have been working in the Wingate subdivision and will then move to the Fox Point subdivision, which officials believe has one of the worst-hit tree populations in Barrington.
Staff members will continue to inspect and mark infected trees throughout the summer, Lawler said.
After an ash is deemed doomed, crews will saw it down, leaving the stump to be dealt with later. Summer months are too warm to plant replacement trees, Lawler said, but when the weather cools the village will install a variety of tree species in the ash trees' place.
In the past, suburbs were not so careful to diversify their tree stock. In some towns, ash trees made up nearly 35 percent of the tree populations, in part because they at the time had no known predator.
Lawler said as long as the village has a diverse tree population the effects of whatever new pests the future will bring won't be as catastrophic as it has been for the ash trees.
A representative from the public works department is expected to update the community on their progress, including a count of all of the trees removed, at the next public meeting of the village board, scheduled for 7 p.m. Monday, June 23, at village hall.