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.