Winter doesn't stop ash tree removal in Wheaton

  • Crews set up their equipment and close off Shaffner Road in Wheaton before removing trees infested by the Emerald Ash Borer.

      Crews set up their equipment and close off Shaffner Road in Wheaton before removing trees infested by the Emerald Ash Borer. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

  • Crews remove trees infested with the Emerald Ash Borer along Shaffner Road in Wheaton.

      Crews remove trees infested with the Emerald Ash Borer along Shaffner Road in Wheaton. Bev Horne | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 1/15/2015 11:17 AM

Several dozen trees infested with the Emerald Ash Borer were chopped down this week along Shaffner Road in Wheaton, resulting in a two-day road closure.

The tree removal in that area brings the city one step closer to eliminating all its ash trees, which Forestry Superintendent Kevin Maloney said once totaled about 6,400.

 

City officials estimate there are between 800 and 900 ash trees that still need to be removed. Maloney said their removal likely will occur over the next six to eight months.

"We're moving at a pretty good clip," he said, adding that efforts to combat the invasive bug have been ongoing since 2008.

While some may think the most popular time to remove trees would be when the weather is nicer, perhaps in spring or summer, Maloney said it's common practice among municipalities to cut down or trim trees in the winter.

"It's sometimes better for the tree, not to be doing it when the foliage is on," he said.

A six-year replacement program that will result in the planting of about 5,000 new trees has begun, too.

Maloney said replacement trees include a variety of oaks, hybrid elms, Kentucky coffee trees, common hackberry, American hornbeams, Japanese tree lilac and crabapple, among others.

The Emerald Ash Borer has caused some areas of the city to lose up to 90 percent of their tree canopy, including the Farnham and Scottsdale neighborhoods, Maloney said. Replacement trees are often being planted in those areas first.

For more information on the Emerald Ash Borer or the city's efforts to remove and replace ash trees, visit www.wheaton.il.us/ashborer.

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