Rolling Meadows wrapping up ash tree removals

 
 
Updated 2/25/2016 10:09 AM

After years of treating, removing and replacing ash trees in Rolling Meadows, the city is nearing the end of its program to deal with the emerald ash borer.

Public Works Director Fred Vogt said ash tree removal could be completed this year or next, but replacing the trees lost to the infectious disease could still take a few more years.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In 2015, 697 parkway ash trees were removed, about half the public works and half by contracted help, Vogt said. So far this year, 120 ash trees have been removed, he said, and 130 additional removals are expected. That would leave only about 100 trees to be removed in 2017.

"If we wanted to get really aggressive, we could finish it this year," Vogt said. "But, for resident satisfaction, we might want to wait. Some people like to wait until the trees actually die to take them down."

Alderman Brad Judd said he would rather the department just remove all the remaining ash trees this year.

"Let's get it done and move forward," Judd said.

The city will look at how the remaining trees are doing this spring and decide whether to expedite the program, Vogt said.

Once the trees are removed, the city is working quickly to plant new ones in their places. About 600 trees were planted in 2015, and another 600 plantings are planned this year. But hundreds more will continue into 2017 and 2018.

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About 150 trees being treated by either residents or city, which chose to treat, rather than remove, about 30 of its most prominent trees along Kirchoff Road.

Rolling Meadows had about 1,700 ash trees at the beginning of the emerald ash borer crisis several years ago and projected that it would cost $1.7 million to deal with the problem -- a high number for the city but much less than in several surrounding suburbs.

Arlington Heights recently announced it is also winding down its efforts to address emerald ash borer, discontinuing a 50/50 cost-sharing treatment program with residents.

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