Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Emerald Ash Borer Update from the Village of Arlington Heights

The Public Works Department prides itself on swift response time to resident requests; however, the emerald ash borer (EAB) infestation is presenting some difficulties in maintaining the same level of response. Hundreds of phone calls are being received regarding the tree removal and replanting process.

Currently, the Public Works Department’s first priority is to eliminate the dead and dying parkway ash trees. These trees are identified for removal each year during the annual village-wide dead tree survey, which generally occurs in spring. Since the Forestry Unit is continually monitoring the parkway trees, residents do not need to call in dead trees.

The next priority is tree planting, since this task is time sensitive. One of the Forestry Unit’s certified arborists will select the species of tree to be replanted based on an overall urban forest plan. Available species are chosen based on nursery stock availability, viability of species, appropriateness of parkway installation, diversity, and proven success. Although these new species may look different than the species you are used to seeing, they have been chosen to diversify the urban forest and beautify the neighborhood.

Generally before or during tree planting, stump removal and parkway restoration occurs. Due to the unyielding winter and unavailability of soil, stump removal and restoration have been delayed. The stump removal process will not harm nearby newly planted trees.

The Village of Arlington Heights takes great pride in its urban forest and its management plan. To maintain the beautiful urban forest, the Village replants one-for-one. Over 2,000 parkway trees have been planted this spring alone. Newly planted parkway trees are equipped with a watering bag to help homeowners keep them healthy. It is recommended that residents water all parkway trees. The watering bags on newly planted trees should be filled every other day. In drought conditions, further watering may be needed. Additionally, a thin layer (2 inches) of mulch is installed on new parkway trees. Proper mulching helps conserve soil moisture, prevents competition from grass and weeds, and protects the tree from lawnmower and line trimmer damage. Mulch should never be piled against the trunk of a tree; this is what is known as volcano mulching and is damaging to the tree.

This entire removal and replanting process may take up to 12-18 months to complete. The Village of Arlington Heights respectfully requests residents’ patience during the EAB infestation.

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