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Emerald ash borer battle turns to Lindenhurst

Village Lindenhurst maintenance operator two Ken Andersen GenoCity Wisconslocates damage an Ash tree caused by emerald ash borer. | Thomas

Village of Lindenhurst maintenance operator two Ken Andersen of Genoa City, Wisconsin locates damage to an Ash tree caused by the emerald ash borer. | Thomas Delany Jr~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 14, 2013 4:49PM

LINDENHURST — As the Emerald ash borer infiltrates Lake County, officials are taking early steps and assessing the impact of the destructive insect before it takes a foothold in Lindenhurst.

“We have 1,500 ash trees throughout the village. We know the pest is headed our way,” said Mayor Susan Lahr. “We want to be proactive and methodical in approach to this inevitable problem,” adding that only about 15 percent of village trees are ash. “We are lucky in that way.”

Several trees have shown signs of infestation, said Village Administrator Matt Formica. Gurnee and Vernon Hills have seen widespread infestation by the Emerald ash borer.

Natural Path Forestry last inventoried village-owned trees in the mid-1990s. The certified arborists will update their data and propose a course of future action.

“They have worked for us in the past and developed our tree management software so we already have a basic inventory of trees. They will update software and do a new evaluation, and then make recommendations,” said Formica.

For a cost of $5,200 the arborists will look at and evaluate each ash tree owned by the village and update the database, then take the information to prepare a proposed course of action.

The trees to be assessed are mostly in the village parkway, the area between the sidewalk and road in front of residences, or the trees that are located in the right-of-way, about 20 to 30 feet from the street edge in areas where there are no sidewalks.

“The majority of ash trees are planted in our newer subdivisions where there are parkways and sidewalks,” said Formica. Work will be done as soon as the arborists are available.

Formica hopes to have a management plan in place early next year.

“There are several options, including doing nothing, treating affected trees or removing and replacing them. We will take our options to the next budget process and decide what we want to do.”

While this assessment is strictly for village-owned trees, village officials may consider some type of future resident-village partnership to tackle the problem.

“Part of our plan will be to provide information and recommendations to owners of ash trees on private property. The Village Board will have to talk about parameters of possible programs next year,” said Formica.

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