Public weighs in on ash borer plan

April 25, 2013 5:45:48 AM PDT
People got a chance Wednesday night to weigh in on the city of Chicago's new plan to battle the emerald ash borer.

The aggressive plan involves pesticides and the trimming of tens of thousands of trees.

The city has already marked a bunch of trees with bands identifying them for treatment. There are about 90,000 of these trees and many more in the area. Experts say many of them will not survive.

Ash trees make up about one in every five trees in the Chicago area and experts say all of them are in danger from this tiny insect.

It's already too late for some like Petra Blix who have already lost trees on their own property.

"We're trying to get the word out to homeowners that this emerald ash borer infestation is going to be so devastating and most people are just not aware of it," said John Friedmann, Save the Ash Coalition.

Friedmann says it takes about ten years for a tree to die once it becomes infested.

He says it's too late for tens of thousands of ash trees.

Some are already too infested to be saved, but the city plans to try to save as many as possible.

They have committed to inoculating about half the city's ash trees this year and the other half next. Alderman Dick Mell of the 33rd Ward is hoping to raise private money to do even more this year.

"I'd like to take this to some of the foundations, like McArthur Foundation, who are spending millions of dollars and art and everything. Well, trees are art, let's spend a little money on that to save some of the trees," he said.

Experts say the inoculation can be very effective. It's also a whole lot less an expensive an alternative. It's about $46 to inoculate a single tree, which lasts for three years. It's about $1,100 to remove a dead tree.

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