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Hampshire still battling emerald ash borer

An ash tree near Stonehaven Drive Elgis taken down recently by ElgPublic Works.  | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

An ash tree near Stonehaven Drive in Elgin is taken down recently by Elgin Public Works. | Michael Smart~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 24, 2012 6:35AM

HAMPSHIRE — The village will begin removal the first week in October of approximately 120 trees that have been infested with the emerald ash borer.

In 2011, when the village removed more than 130 dead or dying trees from parkways, a 50-50 program was set up. According to village officials at that time, the 50-50 participation level refers to the cost of the replacement tree. The village provides all of the labor for tree removal and planting.

Village President Jeff Magnussen announced that while the village will continue to remove dead or dying trees, replacement trees will not be planted this fall due to continuing drought conditions.

“The 50-50 program will resume in the spring,” Magnussen said. “The decision was made because of the drought.”

There is no cost to the resident for tree removal. The infested tree will be taken down, the stump ground up, and the dirt replaced.

There will be a cost to the resident in the spring if he or she chooses to participate in the 50-50 replacement program. The cost is $70 to the village and $70 to the resident.

The presence of the emerald ash borer in Illinois was first confirmed near Lily Lake in Kane County on June 9, 2006. Ash trees were widely planted in the United States to replace elm trees attacked by Dutch elm disease in the 1960s.

Trustee George Brust said that infested trees taken down might be chipped and turned into mulch. The free mulch would then be made available for residents to pick up and take back to their homes.

According to Drew Ullberg, director of natural resources with the Kane County Forest Preserve District, a tub grinding process should be used for turning infested trees into mulch. The mulch should measure 1x1x1 inch. In addition, mulch made from infested trees should only be used in quarantine zones.

Since the presence of the emerald ash borer was first confirmed in Hampshire on Dec. 21, 2006, the village is considered as part of the quarantine zones.

The larva of the emerald ash borer is creamy white and legless. The adult insect is bright metallic green, one-half inch long, and has purple abdominal segments beneath its wing covers.

Canopy dieback in infested ash trees begins in the top third of the canopy and progresses until the tree is bare. The presence of the emerald ash borer is evidenced by the pest’s D-shaped exit holes on the tree bark.

“It’s unfortunate that the emerald ash borer is devastating such a beautiful tree,” Ullberg said. “The general public should know that if their ash tree is healthy, they should treat it with insecticide to prolong its life. Bark injection should be done by a certified arborist, while soil drench can be done by residents.”

Another insect that has been making its appearance lately is the boxelder bug.

“Boxelders are around in the summer,” Ullberg said, “but they congregate in mass now because they are looking for overwintering spots. Boxelders don’t bore into trees. They are mostly unsightly.”

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