Reporting Bernie Tafoya
CHICAGO (CBS) – The city’s war against the tree-killing Emerald Ash Borer was kicked up quite a few notches on Wednesday.
WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports the city plans to spend $2 million this year – 18 times what it did last year – to inoculate 35,000 ash trees against the Emerald Ash Borer.
Over the last four years, the city has inoculated 18,000 ash trees to protect them against the invasive species of beetle.
“We’re going to try and save the trees. We’re going to try and save our canopy,” Streets and Sanitation Commissioner Charles Williams said while crews were out in the Roscoe Village neighborhood on Wednesday. “Look at the shade that this is going to provide these residents along the street. Look at the beauty that this is providing this neighborhood.”
Chicago has about 85,000 ash trees located on city parkways. Ash trees make up about 17 percent of all the trees on city parkways.
“Our ash [trees] really make a great contribution to the urban tree canopy, and we’d love to keep as many as we can, for as long as we can,” said senior city forester John Lough. “We’re injecting into the tree, and then the product will move throughout the whole tree to protect it.”
Lough said the city has had to cut down about 6,500 infested ash trees in recent years.
He said, where infested ash trees must be removed, different tree species are being planted in their place.
“We do not want to replace ash with ash. When looking to re-plant, you want to diversify and plant as wide a variety of species as possible,” he said. “That way, you’re not going to create a salad for some other insect, let alone Emerald Ash Borer.”
The city also plans spend another $600,000 to trim 20,000 trees of all varieties on city parkways this year.