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Emerald Ash Borer Battle Continues: Plainfield to Remove More Trees in 2014

The village continues to get requests from homeowners associations to remove insect-infested trees.

The emerald ash borer burrows its way through the common tree species, destroying it from the inside. Credit: File photo
The emerald ash borer burrows its way through the common tree species, destroying it from the inside. Credit: File photo
In the last year, more than 600 trees were cut down in the Village of Plainfield, all falling victim to the scourge of the emerald ash borer.

On Monday, the village board approved investing another $60,000 in eradicating the pest, awarding a contract to Arbor Tek Services to continue removing infected trees. 

The insect, which burrows into ash trees, killing them from the inside out, has destroyed tens of millions of trees in the midwest over the last 12 years, according to Director of Public Works Allen Persons.

Two years ago, the Illinois Department of Agriculture confirmed that the invasive species had made its way into Plainfield, infecting trees mainly in the north section of town.

Now, Persons said, "It's spread to the entire village." He said the village has received an unexpected number of requests from Plainfield homeowners associations asking for parkway ash trees to be removed.

In some cases, HOAs are asking for the removal of not only infected trees, but also all ash trees susceptible to the ash borer, Persons said. Because the trees are in the village's right of way, the removal is done at no cost to the HOAs, he said.

The village is also replacing trees, but only at a rate of about 400-500 per year, Persons said.

"There will be a lag" between tree removal and replacement, he said. 

Due to the early snow, the village is already behind on responding to requests, Persons said. 

"Requests for tree removal have exceeded our expectations for this year," he said. "We're trying to anticipate demand for next year" and get ahead of spring requests, according to Persons.

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Scott Concertman December 17, 2013 at 10:12 PM
Here in Chicago the City easily saved over 36,000 public Ash trees so far by injecting them every three years until the EAB population inevitably crashes and danger from the Asian invasive passes by 2018 just like it already has in Michigan because the borers cause the extinction of their only food source. American Ash is our local ecosystems top organism and also has the largest population of any tree species in our region. Green Ash has a "Locally evolved" lifespan of 300, and White Ash 6OO years while Maple, linden & Pear trees average lifespans are under 80! As a volunteer, it only costs me $30 per year for applying generic Imidacloprid to six public trees under 40 years old in Elmwood Pk.. By bulk purchasing & in house application of "Tree-age" injections, it costs Chicago an average of $60 every three years while suburbs pay $300 for removal, $60 to de-stump, and $300 for replacement trees which have all been dying from the two year drought anyways. You did not expect the same people who let their parkway tree succumb to EAB to water the new ones. There are now five god-sent insecticides that if applied properly have a 95%-99% success rate, while only 5 out of 500 treated trees in Chicago partially failed after city worker only injected one side on a few resulting in half of tree 100% healthy & alive, and half succumbed to borers. There is no battle going on in Plainfield after this community totally surrendered to the EAB and made no attempt to save at least a few of their best/historic trees. This municipality is living up to their name though today by having Plain fields void of any trees. DOH! PS: Borers do not burrow into ash trees, they only bore into the trees newest surface wood growth which will heal over with next years ring. Cutting down still healthy ash trees will do nothing to EAB's exponentially growing population while treated trees are like trap trees killing every egg laid on them. Since EAB was only just discovered 13 years ago, do not expect any expert Arborist to know anything but third hand & outdated info, or worse only unsubstantiated rumors. And who did Plainfield pay just to "Expertly" tell them to let all their public trees die? Is your town wasting even more money by having the dying ash trees trimmed in vein hope it will survive another year. Imagine, your town officials will have to borrow 10 years into your future when Municipalities like Naperville & Chicago will be ending their treatments in six and will still have maturing trees while Plainfield landscapes their parkways with "Flower boxes"! Welcome to the first extinction event of the 21st century, Scottie Ash Seed, Chicagoland tree historian & Dendrologist.
PlainfieldRes December 18, 2013 at 09:38 AM
I treated 3 Ash trees at my home in Plainfield, 2 of them in the parkway. Even though the parkway isn't my ownership, it seemed like the smart decision considering their age and size and impact on the makeup of my home.
GLK December 27, 2013 at 12:32 AM
Many of my neighbors and I treated the ash tree our parkways as well. Our (rather the village's) trees are about 10 years old and show minimal signs of stress from the EAB currently. I am told by my arborist that there is a very high probability that the tree will survive. That can not be said for the much older ash trees in the adjacent subdivision. These large specimens were written off to the EAB by the village and have been removed. It is somewhat disturbing to observe a subdivision before and after tree removal, a definite void is created. Plainfield seems to have a lot of pride in its history preserving historic building, etc. Hopefully given the effectiveness of the EAB treatments available and the reasonable cost by way of comparison to tree removal, the village will make an attempt to save some of its LIVING history and preserve some of the villages beauty.

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