The Emerald Ash Borer has continued its infestation of Oswego trees, with a sighting of the invasive insect spotted by the in March.
Mark Runyon, assistant director of public works and the village’s head arborist, said the infected trees recently were spotted east of the river. In September 2010, subdivisions west of the river were found to have affected trees, he said. The only way to take care of the problem is to completely remove the trees, he said.
“Once they’re in a community, they spread quick,” Runyon said. “They find a host tree and could be there for three years before you know they’re in the tree. They eventually kill a tree, and then in the flight stage, they go into another tree and do their thing there.”
Once a tree is found to have the Chinese-bred Emerald Ash Borer in it during inspections, the department marks the tree and the subdivision they’re located in is notified, Runyon said.
Private residents are responsible for checking for affected trees on their property, and they must have it removed themselves, versus having the village check their yard.
“We’re just responsible for parkway trees,” Runyon said, adding that residents should visit www.agr.state.il.us/eab/ in order to learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer and what to do if they are on your property. “The website has contact information for the removal of trees from private residences.”
Runyon said if the village was to take on infestations on private residences, the department would be “inundated with calls.”
“We don’t have enough time and staff to do that,” Runyon said.
Jerry Weaver, director of Public Works, said the size of the tree determines the cost of removal.
“It depends on if we can chip it up or haul it away,” Weaver said. “That’s the problem with this. Some of the subdivisions we’ve found the bore in, there are very big and mature trees. The ones that we can, we just drop and haul them away. It depends on the size.”
Weaver said the most recent infestation was found during a yearly tree-pruning cycle the village annually conducts. The number of currently infected trees is at the moment unknown, as the department is in the midst of a tree inventory.
“We’re determining how many Ash trees we have villagewide,” Weaver said. “The last number I heard, we have close to 200 parkway trees, but not all of the 200 are affected. We know we have a lot, but we don’t have an exact number.”
Infected trees in the Fox Chase, Heritage, Blackberry Knoll, Park Place and other subdivisions are not replaced after being disposed of, according to both Weaver and Runyon.
“One thing we’re looking at right now is the village budget, and there’s no tree replacement money there,” Weaver said. “That’s one thing we’ll be pushing.”
A letter to Oswego residents from the Illinois Department of Agriculture states they have worked closely with affected Illinois communities to construct plans that will help mitigate costs of tree removal.
“These plans are often customized to the individual municipality’s limitations of staff, budget, ash trees in town, etc., and most often include developing and maintaining a tree inventory, regular monitoring of ash trees, possible treatment of apparently healthy ash,” Scott Schirmer, IDOA EAB Program Manager said in the letter. “But most often removal of infested and weakened and stressed ash first, so the removal of these trees will strengthen the overall health of the ash population.”
Runyon said the village is facing the same problem as many other municipalities in regards to the Emerald Ash Borer. It is probably the No. 1 problem that Oswego is facing with its tree at the present moment, Weaver added.
“It’s just an ongoing process,” Runyon said. “We’re in the same position as local municipalities like Montgomery and Yorkville. It’s (the Borer) getting to more and more places than it had last year.”