Village officials plan to remove at least 27 ash trees that have been affected by the emerald ash borer.
The trees all show a 50 percent or more likelihood of death, a point at which trees cannot be saved with pesticides, according to Jim Barlow, parks superintendent for the village of Libertyville, during the Parks and Recreation Committee meeting Tuesday.
“Probably in eight to 10 years, the entire population of ash trees in the area will be gone,” Barlow said at the meeting.
The trees on the list are located on Mayfair Drive, Dawes Street, Hemlock Lane, Juniper Parkway, Pembrooke Road, Golf Road, and Crane Boulevard. Last year, the village removed seven trees.
Cost of Replanting
Because the replanting cost falls on the residents whose trees are removed, the committee discussed ways to offer a 50/50 or other discount program to residents to plant new trees. But as the number of trees rises over the years, committee members are not sure how the village budget could sustain such programs.
“Next year, we could be looking at 150 trees,” Barlow said. “We’re going to have to start putting something in the budget just for the removal of the trees.”
The cost of removing the ash trees is $20 per diameter inch. The estimated cost of replacing the tree with another species could be as much as $400, according to Barlow.
He added that although pesticides can be applied to a tree showing less than 50 percent death, after six years the cost of pesticide applications would exceed the cost of the removal.
Trees Add Beauty, Home Value
Committee members expressed concern about the cost for residents to replace the trees but hope they would consider replacing the trees to maintain home values and retain the overall beautification and quality of life in their neighborhoods.
“If you go online and look at photos of some of the areas in Michigan where they cleared away a bunch of ash trees, it looks like a war zone,” Barlow said.
Barlow says the department has been asked to identify infected trees on private property as well, and he hopes to help educate residents about the pest.