Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Treat or remove? Suburbs struggle with ash borer

From the Daily Herald
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.
 Certified arborist David Taylor with Sunrise Tree Service fits hoses that will deliver pesticide to an ash tree in Arlington Heights to help it fight the emerald ash borer.
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.”

Read the rest of the article HERE.


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