Huntley looks at ash tree replacement effort
By Jeanie Mayer For The Courier-News November 2, 2012 11:16AM
Updated: December 5, 2012 6:28AM
HUNTLEY — The village board is looking at options for replacing the increasing number of trees infected with the emerald ash borer.
Village Manager David Johnson said the annual survey of ash trees in Huntley revealed that as many as 480 trees are infested with EAB in 2012, up from an estimated 135 in 2011.
“Thirty-two percent of our ash trees are now at a state we think of as infested,” Johnson said. “At this rate, the remaining (ash) trees in the village will likely be infested in five years.”
Certified arborist Paul Filary of Kramer Tree Specialists gave a presentation to the board Thursday night outlining options for treating trees or removing them. Filary said residents who have been treating their trees can continue to do so and will see some success but that the process is not a guarantee. He said professional arborists can provide stronger chemicals that are not available to the general public.
Johnson said the village has about 1,500 ash trees. The cost of replacing the trees typically runs to $400 per tree. Filary said if the village had about 500 small trees, the cost of treating them might be between $25 and $50 per tree per year, for an indefinite period. But because the village’s ash population is so large, he said he did not recommend that option.
“I wouldn’t be a strong advocate of treating (that many trees),” Filary said. “If the situation was one landmark tree or a few majestic trees that you don’t want to lose, I would say treat them.”
The village has a tree replacement program in which residents can choose to have the village replace the trees and split the cost. Johnson said only about 30 percent of residents have chosen this option over the last five years. In 2012, 111 trees were replaced using the 50/50 program.
The board discussed letting residents shop for and choose their own replacement trees and, after planting, provide the village with receipts for reimbursement up to $200. Johnson said that if the village were to pay the full cost for replacement of all the trees, the price might run to almost $1 million.
Board members favored the standard 50/50 program combined with the option of allowing the residents to shop for and plant the trees themselves. The board is expected to approve the revised program at a later meeting.