Updated Status November 2013
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a destructive insect that, in its larval stage, feeds on the inner bark of Ash trees, disrupting the tree's ability to transport water and nutrients. An infested Ash tree will usually die within a year of noticeable decline, which occurs typically years after the initial infestation. The Emerald Ash Borer was discovered in the Village of Hoffman Estates during the summer of 2010.
Since the discovery of the EAB in the Village, the population of nearly 6,000 parkway Ash trees have been in a steady decline, resulting in the removal of over 800 Ash trees to date. With such a large quantity of infested trees, it will take time for the Village to remove, stump and restore parkways. Residents should also expect some time in between the phases of removal.
As infestations accelerated in 2013, it became necessary to greatly expand the current strategy and streamline the resident notification process. The Village will soon be hiring two additional contractors for removals and replacements to more aggressively address the infestation. Our 2014 goal is to remove 2,000 dead or infested parkway Ash trees and to replace removed trees within a year of removal, if possible.
Should you be concerned about the parkway tree located adjacent to your property, or if you have any questions about the process, please contact the public works department.
One of the primary reasons the EAB is having such a devastating impact is due to the over-planting of various species of ash trees. Prior to the introduction of the EAB, ash trees were relatively insect and disease resistant, and could survive in almost any landscape setting. This led to the species becoming a favorite for municipalities, developers, and landscapers, which, in turn, has caused many communities to lose sight of tree species diversity, and subsequently resulted in ash species making up a large percentage of their tree population. Species diversity requires planting a variety of different tree species throughout the Village, and is now a standard practice for in-house planting programs, as well as a requirement of developers and their landscape contractors. Tree diversification must be a priority when replanting. A diverse urban forest is less vulnerable to catastrophic losses that impact the community's appearance and budget.
Description of EAB
The EAB is a small (1/2" long, 1/8" wide) metallic green beetle native to Asia. Though it was first found in Michigan in 2002, it was likely that a beetle population had been established in the Detroit area for many years prior. More than 15 million ash trees have died since its discovery.
Signs and Symptoms
Viable signs of infestation include:
|Damage from woodpeckers
EAB Response Plan
The Village has chosen a removal-and-replacement approach, which has been the most commonly adopted strategy for addressing the EAB.
EAB-Infested Ash Trees on Parkways
The Village's intention is to continue to remove any Ash trees located on public property that are found to be infested with the EAB, or that are showing signs of decline that would promote the spread of the EAB to other healthy trees. Ash trees on public property that have been positively identified with EAB, will be marked and scheduled for future removal.
Due to the large number of trees requiring removal, resident notification has been streamlined. This new process involves one attempt to contact the resident, by either an in-person visit, or one phone call and follow-up letter per household. Staff will continue to be able to answer questions and/or concerns that residents may have.
Notification to the residents having infested trees has required the streamlining will be Efforts will be made to communicate and notify residents of planned tree removal by personal contact, door hanger tag, or letter. To view a sample of this letter, click here. Following the removal of infested ash trees, stumps will be ground within a reasonable time frame, and the areas restored with black dirt and seed before replanting occurs. Replacement trees will be planted in the order they were removed, and as budget allocations allow. It is anticipated that funding for replacement plantings will quickly lag behind removals, especially in areas possessing large numbers of ash trees that could see EAB infestations move throughout the area fairly quickly.
Optional Pesticide Treatment for EAB on Parkway Trees for Residents and Homeowner Associations
As a result of current research, the required time and perpetual cost commitment that is required coupled with budgetary constraints, the chemical treatment of parkway trees by the Village is not being recommended or pursued. Although unlikely, should additional research findings provide a dramatic improvement related to survivability, effectiveness, method of application, and expense, a modification to the current removal process could be made in the future.
Residents are encouraged to thoroughly research the various treatment options currently available, and carefully weigh the costs associated with the required repeated treatments. While some of these products may successfully fend off the EAB, it is important for residents to know that treatments are only good for a certain period of time, and require future treatments. This means that once you start treating a tree, you will have to continue treatments annually/ biannually for the rest of the tree's life. Such a treatment regiment can become quite costly, and therefore requires an ongoing monetary commitment. Some tree companies that perform this service only recommended it for the largest, healthiest, and most valuable ash trees. Avoid door-to-door salesman, and stick with reputable, established firms. One indication of a reputable tree care company is that they have a certified arborist on staff.
A list of certified professional arborists is available through the International Society of Arboriculture.
The following website is recommended for anyone interested in the various treatment options available: www.emeraldashborer.info/files/Multistate_EAB_Insecticide_Fact_Sheet.pdf (PDF).
Even though the Village owns and maintains over 16,000 parkway trees along the streetscape, residents and property owners have a vested interest in maintaining the health and aesthetic value of the parkway trees adjacent to their properties. Residents and property owners are permitted to have parkway ash trees, adjacent to their properties, treated with pesticide application to control the EAB, provided the property owner is willing to accept the following conditions:
The parkway tree(s) being treated is not infested or showing signs/symptoms of the EAB at the time of chemical treatment
The resident must be willing to accept financial responsibility for all costs associated with the chemical treatment
If the chemical application is performed by a contractor, they must appear on the compliance list with the Illinois Department of Agriculture
A copy of the contractor's compliance agreement must be provided to the Village Forester who will keep it on file at the Public Works Center
Should the tree(s) be found to be infested with EAB during or after said treatments, the Village will require removal of the tree(s) regardless of the treatment and associated costs
Again, the only guaranteed method to control the EAB is removal of the host tree. To view a sample of this letter providing the requirements for residents having trees being treated, click here.
EAB Infestation on Private Property Trees
Once an infestation is found on private property, the need to have all infested trees removed in a timely manner will be a necessary requirement to control and slow the spread of the EAB. Under the provisions of the state of Illinois' Insect Pest and Plant Disease Act, as well as the Nuisance Declaration issued in July 2006, the state has the authority to order the removal of any tree infested with the EAB. Village ordinance will require a tree found to be infested to be removed by the property owner. The Village is requesting cooperation with these requirements, and prompt removal of these infested trees. If a tree on private property is suspected to be infested, the Village will issue a letter to the property owner notifying the resident of the likely infestation. To view a sample of this letter, click here.
For the safety of our residents and adjacent properties and dwellings, the Village is discouraging private property owners from attempting to remove trees infested with the EAB themselves. The Village strongly suggests the use of a qualified and reputable firm to perform the removal of the trees in question, and recommends that you obtain more than one quote for the service. While the Village does not advocate the use of any specific firm or contractor to perform the work, we do maintain a list of firms that meet the qualifications we believe are necessary to ensure proper and safe removal of trees. Although the use of a firm or contractor from this list is not required, the Village does encourage property owners to avoid door-to-door salesman, and to utilize a reputable, established tree service firms.
For a Listing of Vendors appearing on the IL Department of Agriculture Compliance List, click here.
Pesticide Treatment for the EAB on Private Trees for Residents and Homeowner Associations
While ash tree owners have treatment options available in order to avoid removing their trees on private property; the only guaranteed method to control the EAB is to remove the host tree. When considering usage of insecticidal control, residents should weigh the value of the tree against the cost of treatment. Use of insecticides to control the EAB require treatment within a given window (late April through mid-June) to be effective. Residents are encouraged to thoroughly research the various treatment options currently available, and carefully weigh the costs associated with the required repeated treatments. While some of these products may successfully fend off the EAB, it is important for residents to know that treatments are only good for a certain period of time, and require future treatments. This means that once you start treating a tree, you will have to continue treatments annually/ biannually for the rest of the tree's life. Such a treatment regimen can become quite costly, and therefore requires an ongoing monetary commitment. Some tree companies that perform this service only recommended it for the largest, healthiest, and most valuable ash trees. Avoid door-to-door salesman and stick with reputable, established firms. One indication of a reputable tree care company is that they have a certified arborist on staff.
A list of certified professional arborists is available through the International Society of Arboriculture. The following website is recommended for anyone interested in the various treatment options available: www.emeraldashborer.info/files/Multistate_EAB_Insecticide_Fact_Sheet.pdf (PDF).
Please be advised, however, that treatment of an ash tree will not guarantee that a specific tree might eventually be required to be removed. The Village expects large numbers of salespeople contacting residents regarding the EAB. Please use caution when dealing with salespeople, and make sure you thoroughly understand the EAB and the various treatment techniques prior to paying a vendor for any type of EAB service. If you would like to chemically treat or remove your private tree, it is also recommended that you receive more than one quote.
Under the provisions of the state of Illinois' Insect Pest and Plant Disease Act, as well as the Nuisance Declaration issued in July 2006, the state has the authority to order the removal of any tree infested with the EAB, regardless of whether it has been previously treated with a pesticide or not. The state has not exercised this authority to date, as all EAB-related tree removals have been done on a voluntary basis.
Additionally, Village ordinance Section 7.8.9 - Certain weeds and trees prohibited - C. Private Property Trees, Item #4, states: "The Village shall have the right to cause the removal of any dead, dying, declining or diseased trees on private property within the Village, when such trees constitute a hazard to life and property, or harbor insects or disease which constitute a hazard to life and property, or harbor insects or disease which constitute a potential threat to other trees within the Village."
If you suspect that a tree in your neighborhood has been infested, call the Village Forester, at 847-490-6800. For more information on the EAB, visit www.emeraldashborer.info.