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Press Releases

October 21, 2015

ILLINOIS TO DROP INTERNAL EAB QUARANTINE
2015 Survey Confirms Discovery of Emerald Ash Borer in 10 New Counties

SPRINGFIELD, IL- The state of Illinois will no longer restrict the movement of any cut, non-coniferous firewood within the state. Illinois joins Missouri, Iowa, and Kentucky in the deregulation of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

The 2015 survey of traps detected EAB in 10 new counties in Illinois: Madison, Mercer, Jackson, Saline, Hamilton, Wayne, Clay, Jefferson, Washington, and Bond. The addition of 10 new counties ... read more has brought the total count of confirmed counties to 60.

“The survey results this year support deregulation with nearly 60 percent of our counties confirmed positive for EAB,” said Plant and Pesticide Specialist Supervisor Scott Schirmer. “Over the past decade, the regulations and quarantines have served their purpose to slow the rate of spread and afford people time to manage for this pest. However, there comes a time when the pest is too widespread to continue to regulate, and this is our time.”

Previously EAB presence was confirmed in 50 counties, but 61 of Illinois’ 102 counties were under a state quarantine, which was intended to prevent artificial or human assisted spread of the beetle.

“Even though the state of Illinois is lifting its in-state EAB quarantine, I urge all Illinoisans to remain vigilant against the man-assisted spread of not only this pest, but all invasive species,” said Acting Agriculture Director Warren Goetsch. “Illinois will remain part of a federal quarantine, meaning firewood or other ash related products cannot travel into a state that currently has regulations. I urge people to consider the potential impacts of their actions, in general, before they move items like firewood. We’ve witnessed the impacts EAB has had on our trees and budgets, and we want to prevent introduction and spread of other current and future invasive species.”

Since the first detection of the pest near Detroit, Michigan, in 2002, the beetle has killed more than 250 million ash trees. The borer, known for its distinctive, metallic green wing color, is native to Asia. Its larvae burrow into the bark of ash trees, causing the trees to starve and eventually die. The tiny beetle often is difficult to detect, especially in newly-infested trees. Signs of infestation include thinning and yellowing of leaves, D-shaped holes in the bark of the trunk or branches and basal shoots. Each year Illinois Department of Agriculture officials submit samples from various purple EAB traps throughout the state and send them to the USDA’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) to confirm the presence of EAB.

Anyone who suspects an ash tree has been infested should contact their county Extension office, their village forester or the Illinois Department of Agriculture at (815) 787-5476.

Copyright © 2015 Illinois Department of Agriculture . All rights reserved.

Download a pdf version of the Original Article Here








News Articles

Arlington Heights to stop helping residents treat ash trees for beetle 

by Melissa Silverberg, Daily Herald reporter
published in the Daily Herald - October 22, 2015


Since 2012 Arlington Heights and 2,400 residents have collaborated to treat parkway trees infected by the emerald ash borer, but the village has announced it is discontinuing the program.

The 50/50 program reimburses Arlington Heights residents half the cost of treating their infested parkway trees, up to $50 per tree.

Residents who have taken the rebate say the program is working, and their ash trees are living -- unlike thousands of untreated trees that have been cut down.

Treatments are done every two years -- 2012 and 2014 -- but the village will no longer reimburse in 2016.

Village officials said the program wasn't meant to keep the ash trees alive forever but instead slow the rate at which the village was having to take them down.

"It was a great program, but it's important to look at what the purpose of the program was. It was meant to help us get over the crest of the emerald ash borer hitting all of our trees at once," Village Manager Randy Recklaus said.

He said the village's overall strategy is to remove all the ash trees on Arlington Heights parkways and replace them with more diverse and less disease-prone species.

"The treatment program was never intended to be a permanent program. It was meant to buy us time so we could remove and replace trees at a reasonable pace," Recklaus said.

Recklaus said the village has spent $165,000 on ash borer treatments so far and that 2,400 households have taken advantage of the rebate.

A third round of treatments would cost the village $57,000, Recklaus said. When the second set of treatments was approved in 2014, it was made clear it would not be extended again, he said.

Residents, however, said in 2014 it was still unclear how well the treatments would work. Now, four years into the EAB treatments, residents say they are working almost completely.

"Since (the trees) did survive, the decision at this time to allow them to die seems unreasonable," resident Priscilla Hagglund said.

"It was a surprise and disappointment that the board was not willing to support residents who are willing and eager to save their beautiful and thriving ash trees."

Before the EAB invasion, Arlington Heights had 13,000 ash trees. After this season's removals, there will be about 3,200 left in the village, Recklaus said. "We did grant one extension, but if we grant a third and fourth request, where does it stop?" Village President Tom Hayes said Monday. "We very much appreciate the homeowners who were willing to help us save some forestry, but unfortunately we are going to have to turn that burden back over to the homeowner at this point on a 100 percent basis."

Of the 41 trees on Ed Michalski's street, 37 are ash -- and all 37 are still alive, he said.

Michalski is part of the Save Our Ash Coalition -- five Arlington Heights neighborhoods who came together to ask the village to help them treat their parkway trees.

"It would look like a tornado went through my neighborhood if you took all these trees out," Michalski said Wednesday.

"We are disappointed. We did not expect 'no' for an answer. If the trees are all viable and healthy, why wouldn't you keep treating them?"

Michalski said he will pay the full cost to keep treating the two ash trees in front of his house. He doesn't know if his neighbors will make the same choice.

"If I can save one tree, why not? But we need the village to stay a part of this partnership, not walk away from it," he said.

Laurie Taylor, president of the Northgate Civic Association, said she had hoped there would be a discussion before the village made a decision.

"I was taken aback when they said they had already decided not to extend it," she said. She would still like a chance to change their minds.

"We like Arlington Heights. We all want to be good neighbors," she said. "We just want to be able to have discussions, not just have a door closed in our face. It was pretty abrupt."

Staff writers Melissa Silverberg contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2015 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

View the Original Article Here



Even 'The Squirrels Are Confused' After 1 in 6 Humboldt Park Trees Cut Down

By Paul Biasco, DNAInfo reporter
published at DNAInfo.com - October 20, 2015


HUMBOLDT PARK — Hundreds of Humboldt Park's trees, many of the oldest and largest, have been cut down in the last few months, taking away nearly one in six trees in the park and apparently confusing some locals.

"The squirrels look confused," says Kitty Hopper, a nearby resident.

Blame it on the emerald ash borer.

The Chicago Park District was forced to spend this summer and fall cutting down an estimated 650 trees due to an infestation of the hated bugs.

Some residents of the area say it's left the park feeling barren while others lament the loss of their favorite trees.

"It feels like a golf course now," Hopper said. "I didn't realize how shocking it would be to walk into a place one day and have it all gone."

Paul Biasco says infected trees die within a few years:

The park district estimates there are between 3,500 and 4,000 trees in the park.

Of the 650 cut down, at least 95 percent were ash, according to Chicago Park District spokeswoman Jessica Maxey-Faulkner. The others must be removed because they are dead or have been severely compromised.

Although Ald. Roberto Maldonado's office announced the tree removal project in June, the results have been a surprise to neighbors of the park.

Humboldt Park resident Kitty Hopper (DNAinfo/Paul Biasco).

Those trees hold memories in different sections of the 219-acre park.

For Hopper, who has walked her dog through the park every morning for most of the past 15 years, her favorite trees fell victim.

She walks her dog along the same route every day.

It's been a constant for her over the years as the neighborhood has changed.

Hopper knows the intricacies of the trees along her walk; one with branches jetting out over the lagoon with twisted, exposed roots, the mature tree that leans at the perfect angle for kids to climb on and the densely planted mini grove.

One was a large ash tree where birds have been nesting for years across from Little Cubs Field.

"The one tree with the robin's nest just gets me," Hopper said. "I think there's a lot more people who have a special tree than you think."

The park district plans to replace every tree, according to Maxey-Faulkner.

The replacements will be a variety of species other than ash and will cost between $650 and $750 each.


The stumps of two trees that were cut down before they were ground into wood chips. [DNAinfo/Paul Biasco]

Frank Salinas, a 58-year-old long-time resident of the neighborhood, started counting the trees this summer.

"You will see mounds everywhere," he said, describing the piles of wood chips that were once trees and later stumps.

Salinas said he got up to about 150 during his count and had to give up.

"It's all old growth," he said. "It's the big guys."

Salinas said he understands it's a minor concern in the grand scheme of city issues, but said he and neighbors were concerned.

Phil Biasco contributed to this report.

Copyright © DNAInfo.com. All rights reserved.

View the Original Article Here



Pay Now or Pay Later -- Saving Our Trees
by Marlene Ascher, President Old Irving Park Association
published in the Old Irving Park News - March 2013

Emerald Ash Borer. Mention this insect to anyone who knows even a little about gardening and he will tell you all he knows about it. It is a small green iridescent beetle first discovered in southeastern Michigan near Detroit in the summer of 2002 although it probably arrived as early as the 1990s in Chinese shipping crates. EAB does not kill trees in Asia because that eco-system has had centuries to build up immunity. Not so here. Adult beetles harmlessly nibble on leaves, but their larvae feed on inner bark, destroying the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients throughout its limbs. Death is a gradual 10-year process.

Since its arrival, the EAB has rapidly expanded its range, killing an estimated 50-100 million ash trees and on track to kill most of the 7.5 billion ash trees throughout North America. Chicago first discovered the beetle in Bronzeville in 2008. Now our 94,000 ash trees will face a sure death unless we intervene.

Why should we bother? These ash trees account for 19% of the half million trees on Chicago parkways, railway trails, cemeteries, forest preserves, and private gardens are ash trees. Each of those 500,000 ash trees absorb almost 22,000 gallons of water each summer. Where do we think that water will go if we lose those trees? In addition, the loss of this many trees would be a travesty for the Northwest Side known for the beauty of its gorgeous trees. These trees offer more than beauty. They are an economic benefit that we are just beginning to realize how to leverage.

The Sustainable Cities Institute cites a 2004 study which revealed that overwhelmingly prefer business areas with well-planted canopy-covered streets. Shoppers have indicated that they will travel greater distances and drive for a longer time to visit a district having high quality trees and that they spend more time there once they arrive. Further, shoppers claim that they will spend 9-12% more for goods and services in central business districts having high quality tree canopy.

Green Cities: Good Health organization advises that the presence of larger trees in yards and parkways can add 3-15% to home values. One of its studies showed a 7% higher rental rate for commercial offices having high quality landscapes.

The Northwest Side has a budding consciousness of its cultural and economic development potential. Our efforts to become all that we can be will be impeded by the loss of almost 20% of our mature trees. It would be devastating, but there is a way to avoid the disaster.

What a lot of people might not know is that science has successfully found tools to combat the EAB threat. One of those tools is a product called "Tree-Age" (rhymes with 'triage'), created ten years ago by Arborjet which spent five years re-engineering a 50-year-old tree injection technology to make it safe enough for 21st century environmental regulations. Arborjet quickly developed a positive reputation for its success rate in saving ash trees. Chicago is one of several U.S. cities which has invested in training their crews in the proper identification and treatment of infested trees. The active chemical in their product is Emamectin benzoate. Holes are drilled through two sides of the tree where the product is injected. Its effect lasts for 3 years, and within that time scientists hope to have a better solution. Lydia Scott, of Morton Arboretum's community outreach department, confirms that trees can successfully be injected even those that are 30% dead.

What would it cost to save our trees vs. removing them? It costs the City of Chicago $59 to treat each tree but $1100 to remove each tree. An ounce of prevention is worth a ton of cure.

If we are going to reverse the path of destruction, we must act now. Because of the reproduction cycle of the EAB, 2013 is the critical year to treat the trees and spring is the ideal time. The Society of Municipal Arborists advises that some communities have begun the pre-emptive removal of ash trees well before EAB arrives to spread out the removal/replacement costs over a decade or more. Others are treating desirable ash trees with insecticides using city staff or contractors as EAB draws near. The goal of treatment may be long-term preservation in some cases, but treatment can also be a valuable short-term strategy to spread out the cost of large scale ash tree removal over a longer budgetary period.

The SMA organization advises that an effective EAB management plan should include an inventory showing the location of the community's ash trees, a discussion on which ash trees will be treated and which ones removed, education, media outreach, tree planning and replacement. It warns that communities that failed to plan created a horticultural disaster for themselves. The disaster was more than aesthetic. Dead trees came crashing down in unpredictable fashion with injuries, fatalities, and property damage.

Do you want to save our trees? You can. An organized effort is underway. It is called Save The Ash Trees Coalition, and its leader is John Friedmann, North River Commission's vice-president of environmental issues and former president of the Horner Park West Neighborhood Association. John has made it his business to learn as much as possible about this growing community disaster to have immersed himself in the science of the problem and its solutions. He has been speaking to aldermen, community associations, churches, schools, horticultural groups -- to whomever he can -- to educate them about the problem and the solution. John has recruited a team of student volunteers from Yale University and the University of Illinois to work with employees of the Tree-Age company in creating efficient ways to help communities identify and officially tag infested trees to quicken the Forestry Department's treatment process.

Speed of action is important because of the beetles' reproductive cycle. The more volunteers, the quicker trees can be inoculated and the more we can influence aldermen to ensure that the Northwest Side gets the resources we need to stop the infestation now before it is too late. I urge you to do something to protect our trees which play such an important role in our emerging cultural and economic development success. If you want to help, contact John Friedmann at 800-456-1960 or write him at jf@saveyourash.org. There are several important things you can do and some of them are quite easy. Don't delay thinking others will get involved. You are needed.

03/2013



Treat or remove? Suburbs struggle with ash borer

by Deborah Donovan, Daily Herald reporter
published in the Daily Herald - August 20, 2012


Second of two parts

Sam Moser fights the emerald ash borer to save the lovely tree canopy on his street.

Jim Bell, meanwhile, sees the green of dollars as well as leaves. For him, treating infested trees is part of a larger plan to save the Elgin ash trees he can, while preventing a budget disaster in his city.

The viewpoints of an Arlington Heights homeowner who worries about hundreds of trees in his neighborhood and the Elgin parks superintendent responsible for 7,000 public ash trees are different. But they both believe that ash trees can and should be treated, and insecticides are critical in the battle against this tiny bug.

As late as 2006, when the first Illinois emerald ash borers were confirmed in Kane County, officials thought the infestation could be contained by quickly cutting down infected trees.

They soon learned that did not work — mainly because the pest takes three or four years to cause noticeable damage and was already widespread before its detection.

Scientists now insist some trees can be saved if treated.

But treating trees can be a financial gamble, especially if they are already infested, and Scott Schirmer, emerald ash borer program manager for the Illinois Department of Agriculture, doesn't believe any suburban ash trees have escaped the borer.

While many sources say a tree can be treated and saved if at least 60 percent of the canopy — leaves and branches — is alive, there is not universal agreement. Wayne White, a Michigan arborist whose Emerald Tree Care has followed the pest to Illinois, says he will not guarantee a tree can be saved if the canopy shows any damage.

And over the years the cost of professionally treating a tree eventually adds up to the price of removing and replacing it, he said.

“You don't want to waste money treating an ugly tree,” said White. “The tree is not going to look any better than it does today.”

Dru Sabatello, Arlington Heights village forester, is more optimistic. He first worried that infected trees would be too damaged to get much use from insecticide, which the tree must carry up its vessels to the branches and then the leaves.

The borers eat those vessels and interrupt the flow of water and insecticide to the top.

However, “I'm starting to become more confident. The trees are healthier looking than I thought going into this season,” said Sabatello. “(TREE-Age) is lethal to the larvae, there's no mistaking that. If the tree can take it up, it's effective.”

Bell, meanwhile, is part of a national coalition of professors, local government officials and representatives of tree care and pesticide companies that believes insecticides belong in any ash management program.

Bell's crews are treating 2,000 ash trees in Elgin, have removed 1,400 and plan to take down another 3,500, at a rate of 500 a year.

Ash trees — at least 14 percent of the city's parkway trees — were assessed according to their location and condition, and officials decided to treat only trees with diameters between 8 and 20 inches.

Smaller ash trees are being cut down and replaced with another variety.

As for larger trees, early tests indicate the treatment might not work on them, but more research is under way.

“That's 2,000 trees we don't have to remove,” Bell said. “We focus on fairly high liability trees for removal and hopefully replanting. Treating trees buys you time.”

Treatment of public trees in Elgin costs $24 a tree per year because it is done by city crews.

That compares with $800-$1,200 to remove and replace a tree.

And buying time, even for trees that won't make it, is useful because dead ash trees are very brittle and may fall over on people, cars or homes within a year of expiring.

Treat for 6-8 years

Sam Moser was the first in Arlington Heights to organize his neighbors in the Heritage Park area to fight the ash borer in their parkway trees. The group selected TREE-Age, and were given a group discount.

“Parkway trees have more to do with the look of the neighborhood — beautiful, high-canopy tree-lined streets,” he said. “People commented to me that was part of their decision to buy a house on our street — the character and large trees.”

Homeowners who want to treat their parkway or private trees have a variety of options, some relatively low-cost.

In northeastern Illinois, the main treatments available are Imidacloprid, which is now available under several brand names; Emamectin Benzoate, available only as TREE-Age; and Dinotefuran, branded as Safari or Transtect. There is considerable faith out there in all of them.

Imidacloprid can be put on the soil at the base of the tree, injected into the soil or injected into the tree; TREE-Age is only injected in the tree, and Safari can be sprayed on the bark, injected in the soil or spread around the base of the tree.

Imidacloprid and Safari can be purchased by homeowners — generally for pouring or sprinkling around the base of the tree. Only licensed applicators can use TREE-Age.

All treatments have caveats and directions about methods, doses and precautions.

Deborah McCullough, professor of entomology and forestry at Michigan State University, is a member of the Coalition for Urban Ash Tree Conservation.

She also is co-author of a study about the effectiveness of insecticides against emerald ash borer.

“TREE-Age is the only one you don't have to apply every year,” she said. “We're getting two and maybe three years from it. The level of control is higher than anything else we've seen. Some of the other products work if you apply them every year.

“You don't necessarily have to kill every single ash borer to get the tree through the big invasion.”

The general belief is that treatment must be aggressive for six to eight years until the infestation passes.

When the borers start to die off or move on due to a dearth of ash trees, the surviving trees may be able to fight off the few remaining insects on their own or with occasional treatment, said Fredric Miller, professor of horticulture at Joliet Community College and research associate at Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Research shows that natural parasites might eventually help, too.

Miller, who has been studying emerald ash borer treatments in the suburbs since 2007 and is part of the coalition, attributes skepticism about treatment to early studies of insecticides that produced inconsistent results.

The first Imidacloprid mixtures were not strong enough for a bad infestation in trees 12 to 15 inches in diameter, he said. Since late last year the active ingredient has been doubled, which seems to work better.

“EAB kills untreated trees,” Miller said. “And the insect works on its schedule. Communities will find if they don't decide to treat some trees they will be overwhelmed.

“It will cost a huge amount of money to take down the trees, and it will be a logistical nightmare to find enough crews to come in and help.”

The different treatments all have their advocates.

White, who has contracts with West Chicago and Roselle, says he has been saving ash trees with Imidacloprid in devastated areas of Michigan and Indiana for 10 years. He both injects a tree and puts the insecticide around its base.

Joe Chamberlin, regional field development manager for Valent Professional Products, which sells Safari, said he would use TREE-Age on a tree that has lost 20-40 percent of its canopy.

He said Safari and Imidacloprid, which chemically are similar, work best on trees with up to 20 percent damage.

The trees must be able to take up water for the treatment to work. White prefers treating from mid-April to mid-May but says fall is the next best time.

Chamberlin said Safari can be used after a tree has leafed out in the spring, which gives owners a chance to evaluate its health before paying for treatment.

Jake Balmes, a certified arborist who is now the Gurnee street supervisor, said his village held off treating ash trees during the worst of the drought, and jumped into action with the first drenching rain a few weeks ago.

“We ran out and treated ... another 1,400 (with TREE-Age), over 100 trees a day,” he said. “They were so starved for moisture ... I have never experienced uptake like that. It was almost instantaneous.

“It's pretty clear we are getting really good results,” Balmes added. “I wasn't sure this spring (but) later in the summer you can tell the difference. Trees we treated are holding steady or showing more growth, those we didn't are clearly declining.

“These are right next to each other, it's like night and day.”

Staff writers Melissa Silverberg and Eric Peterson contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2013 Paddock Publications, Inc. All rights reserved.

Download the Original Article Here








Community Meetings

No Meetings Currently Scheduled

May 9, 2013; 7.00 pm - Community Meeting at Volunteer Resource Center


Forest Preserve Mathew Bieszczat Volunteer Resource Center
formerly the Edgebrook Community Center
6100 N. Central Ave, Chicago, IL 60646
(773) 631-1790

Join Alderman John Arena of the 45th Ward as he hosts an important meeting for area homeowners on the impending impact of the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. Learn what the city of Chicago is doing to combat this environmental disaster in the making. Learn what steps homeowners must take now to save their own ash trees and avoid costly tree removal costs down the road. Learn how to identify an infected tree and to determine if the tree can be saved. Learn why any untreated ash trees will face certain death. Learn why this devastating infestation will affect all Chicago residents whether they own an ash tree or not.

Comprehensive presentations will be given by John Friedmann from the Save the Ash Tree Coalition and by Michael Brown from the City of Chicago, Bureau of Forestry. Tree service providers will be on hand to answer questions and discuss treatment options. Special treatment rates will be offered to area residents. Free off-street parking is available.


April 11, 2013; 7:00 - 8:30 pm
  47th Ward Meeting at Bethany United Church of Christ


4250 N. Paulina St., Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 472-1096

Join Alderman Ameya Pawar of the 47th Ward as he hosts an important meeting for area residents on the impending impact of the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. A comprehensive visual presentation will be given by John Friedmann from the Save the Ash Tree Coalition. 

Learn what the city of Chicago is doing to combat this environmental disaster in the making. Learn what steps homeowners must take now to save their own ash trees and avoid costly tree removal costs down the road. Learn how to identify an infected tree and to determine if the tree can be saved. Learn why any untreated ash trees will face certain death. Learn why this devastating infestation will affect all Chicago residents whether they own an ash tree or not.


April 17, 2013; 6:30 pm - Community Meeting at Wright College


4300 N Narragansett Ave, Chicago, IL 60634
(773) 777-7900

Join Alderman Timothy Cullerton of the 38th Ward as he hosts an important meeting  for all northwest side homeowners on the impending impact of the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. Learn what the city of Chicago is doing to combat this environmental disaster in the making. Learn what steps homeowners must take now to save their own ash trees and avoid costly tree removal costs down the road. Learn how to identify an infected tree and to determine if the tree can be saved. Learn why any untreated ash trees will face certain death. Learn why this devastating infestation will affect all Chicago residents whether they own an ash tree or not.

Comprehensive presentations will be given by John Friedmann from the Save the Ash Tree Coalition and by Michael Brown from the City of Chicago, Bureau of Forestry. Tree service providers will be on hand to answer questions and discuss treatment options. Special treatment rates will be offered to area residents.


April 24, 2013; 7.00 pm - Community Meeting at Lane Tech High School


2501 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60618
(773) 534-5400

Join Alderman Richard Mell of the 33rd Ward and four other alderman as they host an important meeting for all north side homeowners on the impending impact of the Emerald Ash Borer infestation. Co-hosted by Alderman Ameya Pawar of the 47th Ward, Alderman Margaret Laurino of the 39th Ward, Alderman Michele Smith of the  43rd Ward and Alderman Scott Waguespack of the 32nd Ward. Learn what the city of Chicago is doing to combat this environmental disaster in the making. Learn what steps homeowners must take now to save their own ash trees and avoid costly tree removal costs down the road. Learn how to identify an infected tree and to determine if the tree can be saved. Learn why any untreated ash trees will face certain death. Learn why this devastating infestation will affect all Chicago residents whether they own an ash tree or not.

Comprehensive presentations will be given by John Friedmann from the Save the Ash Tree Coalition and by Michael Brown from the City of Chicago, Bureau of Forestry. Tree service providers will be on hand to answer questions and discuss treatment options. Special treatment rates will be offered to area residents. Free off-street parking is available.