Deer Park discusses emerald ash borer prevention
Updated: March 24, 2012 8:45AM
Deer Park’s Monday night meeting had officials discussing their plans to take additional precautionary steps to ensure that the village’s parks and private properties remain unaffected by the emerald ash
borer epidemic sweeping Lake County.
Although Trustee Joel Thomason and staff found no evidence of the tree-killing beetle within the village’s 13 parks last summer, officials are planning to set aside money in the upcoming budget years for a two-year emerald ash borer treatment program.
The emerald ash borer is a small, metallic green invasive pest that eats away at the ash trees common to Lake County’s topography. Infestations were first discovered in North America about 10 years ago, and have so far spread from Kane County to Chicago’s suburban communities within the last five years. Since its initial discovery on American terrain, the emerald ash borer is estimated to have taken roughly 25 million ash trees.
While these pests pose no threat to human health, it is a problem with issues mirroring those of the all-too-familiar Dutch elm disease that had devastated the Chicago area’s American elm tree population.
“A while back, there were many communities where there were thousands and thousands of gorgeous 150 to 200-foot trees,” Thomason said. “Dutch elm disease came in and killed about 98 percent of them.”
Because much of suburban Chicago’s attraction is attributed to its trees, Thomason said that a large loss of the species would hurt the area.
Schaumburg has recently released its plan to spend $9 million over a 10-year period to destroy its current infestation, which will end up replacing most of their ash trees with a variety of other trees.
Additionally, Arlington Heights expressed its intentions last week to spend $11.5 million to fight the pests that are expected to kill an estimated 5,000 trees through 2015 in that village.
Thomason will be meeting this Friday with Certified Arborist Charlie Keppel from the Illinois Arborist Association to plan a course of preventative action for the Deer Park to adopt in the upcoming years.
Deer Park expects to release information in April to residents that will explain the overall scope of the problem and detail the continuous 2-year treatment program the village plans
conduct in tandem with yearly inspections. The village will also tell residents about the free inspections available to them, and will note the village’s plans to negotiate discounted treatment rates for those with tree infestations.