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Beetle Likely Will Destroy All Oswego Ash Trees

The village continues to remove trees infected by the emerald ash borer.

For the last year, the village of Oswego has battled the emerald ash borer. The fight continues.

Mark Runyon, assistant director of Public Works, addressed this issue at a village meeting with the Confederation of Homeowners Associations Monday night, saying  the village steadily is working through the worst hit areas removing infected ash trees.

“We’ll be working through the winter into 2013,” he said, adding the village would re-evaluate its contracts in 2013. Currently the village has separate contracts for stump removal and a contract for tree planting.

Almost 1,000 trees have been cut down already this year.

“It’s in all of the subdivisions,” Runyon said, although the hardest hit areas are Brookside, Lakeview, New Windcrest and Hometown.

“We’re pretty much infested,” said Runyon. “We’re going to be losing all of our ash trees.”

Because the infestation is so bad the village is not attempting treatment options, said Runyon.

Village Administrator Steve Jones said the Illinois Department of Agriculture has said there is no acceptable treatment to save trees, although other state departments have said there are.

However, for any homeowners that would like to try to treat an ash tree they are welcome to do so, but Runyon asks that they inform the village. 

The village is only removing and replacing trees on public property. Ash trees on private land are the responsibility of individual homeowners or property owners associations.

Currently, there is a team of three public works employees that have been going through the subdivisions and taking down trees. Runyon said if the tree is not removed immediately, it is marked with an orange ‘x’ to be removed later.

“We’re trying to be proactive. If we find a positive tree, we remove it. If it isn’t positive we leave it, but we’re finding that within the month we’re going back to that tree and removing it,” said Runyon.

The ash borer first showed up in Kendall County in 2009, and now Kendall is one of 23 counties in Illinois under quarantine by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, meaning it is illegal to move ash wood to non-quarantined counties.

Oswego’s infestation started in Mill Race Creek last year and has “swept like crazy” through the area, said Runyon.

The ash borer is a small green beetle that, in its larva stage, burrows through the soft wood of ash trees and kills them from the inside. Ash borers lay eggs in the crevices of ash tree bark, and when the larvae hatch, they chew their way deep into the trees.

Runyon encouraged residents who believe they have infected ash trees to alert the village so they can be removed.

Don Ryba September 19, 2012 at 12:12 AM
I'm a licensed applicator and this might be something to look into.
April Nowak September 19, 2012 at 03:06 PM
I have contracted with an arborist to treat my parkway ash tree at my own expense. It was treated earlier this summer and is looking great. Some Homeowner's Associations have also been treating their ash trees successfully. Chicago, Naperville, Arlington Heights and other municipalities are treating rather than destroying their trees. Cornell University has done extensive research validating treatment as an effective option. Trees need to be evaluated, not every tree can be saved, but many can. There are also effective applications to prevent infestation. I contacted the Village Board about treatment and preventative options. How sad that Oswego would rather cut down trees than attempt treatment.
Margaret Sheehan September 19, 2012 at 05:07 PM
According to the National Aboretum: A broader diversity of trees is needed in our urban landscapes to guard against the possibility of large-scale devastation by both native and introduced insect and disease pests. Urban foresters and municipal arborists should use the following guidelines for tree diversity within their areas of jurisdiction: (1) plant no more than 10% of any species, (2) no more than 20 % of any genus, and (3) no more than 30 % of any family. http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/fletcher/programs/nursery/metria/metria07/m79.pdf
Angie Leonardi Moreland October 27, 2012 at 10:48 PM
As a community member I am extremely dismayed by the 'handling'of the Emerald Ash Borer problem in our community. Communities around ours, Aurora,Naperville are working with Morton Arboretum and are saving a large amount of money and environmental value that having those mature trees provides. On whose advice did we decide "the borers going to get them al so let's cut them al down?" Did we get a reay good deal on a wood chipper? When valuing these trees did we take a tree survey for the city? Do we know the percentages of types of trees we currenty have, thereby allowing us some prediction the impact their removal might have. This summer, those mighty ash left provided better shade than many other cutivars, like maple and birch that were losing leaves in July. Did you know that there have been stands of blue ash entirely unaffected in areas that appear to have a genetic resistance to the borer? In Naperville, they use a hybrid of three chemicas. It has 16, 300 trees. The first years treatment wil cost $480,000. Secondyear, $175,000. ess the second year because one of the treatments is every other year. They predict a loss of 700 trees. The removal plan, as Oswego chose, was to cost $14 miion upon completion. Which makes more economic sense? The Morton Arboretum has partnered with professionals from other communities...what can we do to reopen this issue? This is not over yest, and we cannot let them all die!
Angie Leonardi Moreland November 04, 2012 at 10:49 PM
Fact check-village Administrator Steve Jones stated that The Illinois Department of Agriculture said there was no acceptable treatment. This is not true. Please refer to www.illinoiseab.com. This is our State's agricultural page. It does state that they support treatment, but cannot suggest one treatment over another. That would be because they can't show preference to one manufacturer or another. Not that it doesn't work. Where are the facts? Why are we letting our Administrators make these things up or go by assumption, not factual decisions?

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