The Emerald Ash Borer is in for a fight, as the city invites one and all to come to a rally next month to learn how to engage in combat with the despised insect.

The Parks/Forestry Division is joining with the Openlands Branch of Evanston TreeKeepers to co-sponsor an event that will combine education and entertainment.

They’re calling it the “Tree Summit: Save Evanston’s Urban Forest” and the date has been set—June 22—although the time and location are yet to be announced.

Speakers at the Summit will include Wally Bobkiewicz, city manager; Paul D’Agostino, assistant director of public works, and Wendy Pollock, Evanston TreeKeeper.

Entertainment and activities are being finalized; light refreshments will be served, and there will be give-aways that will help residents lead a “greener” life. Admission is free and all ages are welcome.

In an announcement Tuesday, the city noted that the ash borer has dealt a deadly blow to about half of the city’s 4,000 public ash trees, and “it is expected that it is only a matter of time before the remaining ash trees will die.”

At the summit, residents will learn more about the negative impacts from losing so many trees, such as lowered air quality and carbon dioxide levels, and what steps are possible to maintain Evanston’s tree population.

Community members will be given a chance to support an enhanced tree planting program and to take action together to save Evanston’s urban forest.

The city hopes to raise $25,000 by the end of September to purchase 100 trees. If they raise more money, they promised, they’ll use the funds to purchase and plant more trees.

If you’d like to join the fight to save Evanston’s urban forest, the city invites you to send an email to Kelsey Atkinson.

Charles Bartling

A resident of Evanston since 1975, Chuck Bartling holds a master’s degree in journalism from Northwestern University and has extensive experience as a reporter and editor for daily newspapers, radio...

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  1. Ash trees are treatable

    From the City of Chicago to the City of Milwauke and dozens of municipalities in between, countless cities are saving their ash trees by treating them.

    Evanston Forestry has stated that there is no effective treatment, which is not true. Chicago, Naperville, Geneva, Milwaukee, and others use Treeage, which is 99% effective, according to university studies.

    Trees can be preserved for their natual life for far less money than it costs to cut them down and replace.

    How Evanston ended up here is indefensible.

    Call Davey or Tree Guru or TruGreen and tell them you want your ash tree treated. Skip this nonsensical event that only promotes poor municipal management.

  2. We are currently having our

    We are currently having our ash tree treated.  Perhaps the city could provide more information about the effectiveness of this.  

  3. Let’s do the math

    Let's do the math. Using Evanston's figure of $250 for a new tree plus the city of Chicago's number of $750 to cut down a tree, removal and replacement costs $1,000 and you have a twig in your front lawn.

    Using Chicago's figures of $50 to treat a tree every three years, you can preserve your mature ash for more than 60 years.

    Spend a ton of money now for a twig. 

    Or, spend next to nothing and keep your mature ash for its natural life.

    Suggest we ask Wally Bobkiewicz, city manager and Paul D’Agostino, assistant director of public works how they came to the stunning conclusion to let thousands of ash die at the cost of millions of dollars.

    1. Question

       "Suggest we ask Wally Bobkiewicz, city manager and Paul D’Agostino, assistant director of public works how they came to the stunning conclusion to let thousands of ash die at the cost of millions of dollars."

      Why must ash trees be preserved?

      If an ash tree dies, must it be replaced by another tree….and if so , must this tree be another ash?

      I don't see why we would want to keep planting species that are prone to disease.

      1. They’re not replacing them with ash

        Its not about saving the tree, simply because it's a tree, so much as it is about the high cost of dealing with the removal of infected trees, as opposed to the low cost of treating the trees to preserve them.

        The trees are not prone to disease.  The ash borer is an invasive species that causes their demise.  Its a bug that shouldn't be in this area in the first place.  It's native to Asia.

        Two thousand trees is a lot to lose.  They do have to be replaced.  No one is talking about replanting ash trees.  They're raising money to replant trees.  They didn't specify they are replacing them with ash trees.

  4. Really people?

    Not a single comment here is from anyone who anything but anectodal knowledge about EAB and forestry in general.  I have personally seen thousands of ash trees dies over the past several years, and I have watched as people insist on treating private and public trees with chemicals with the hope of saving the tree.  What people aren't aware of is that treatments are only truly effective if the tree(s) is/are healthy to begin with.  If the treatment is started after the tree is infested then portions of the tree are still going to die.  Even if the tree survives (and the treatments for a mature tree can cost hundreds of dollars per treatment, by the way, not $50) then you are still going to have to pay for massive corrective pruning to remove dead branches.  Often the terminal bud of the central leader is lost and the tree will then lose it natural shape.  So you have now spent possibly hundreds of dollars for a treatment, which you will continue to do every 2-3 years in perpetuity, hundreds more for corrective pruning for a tree which is no longer as aesthetically pleasing as it was before.

    Or, you could let go of the notion that your tree holds special meaning, accept the fact that it is a plant with a limited lifespan, and that it is no longer a feasible option for long-term urban forest management.  There are literally hundreds of other species and varieties that are better options due to the advancement of breeding programs and nursery work.  Ash were planted in massive numbers in response to Dutch elm disease.  You would think that urban foresters would have learned their lesson about monocultures, but apparently not.

    1. Another look at treatment costs

      There's clear scientific consensus that trees with 50% or more of their foliage are candidates for treatment.

      Yes, the more infested, the more a tree will need to be pruned. But mature trees need to be pruned every few years anyway. So what's your point?

      Regarding cost, the $50 is a government cost for the average tree, according to the City of Chicago. Their average tree is 17 diameter inches. Trees on private property will be roughly double that number.

      Chicago and Milwaukee treat every three years. So, less than $20 a year for trees on city property and less than $40 a year for trees on private property treated by a homeowner.

      So, you've now spent $100 on a treatment and you've eliminated the colony of emerald ash borers living in your back yard tree, and your tree will be lethal to them for another three years at least. In three or four years you can repeat the process and you'll have $200 total invested. Three or four years later you treat again and you've sunk $300 into your tree.

      Here's what you got:

      You've spent $300 over ten years and not $1,000 or more this year . (Backyard trees can cost thousands to remove)

      The mature tree has continued to shade your house, reducing your energy costs. Versus the stick you would replace it with. 

      The mature tree has maintained its contribution to your house's value, whereas replacing it with a stick would lower your home's value.

      The mature tree continued to soak up rain water, whereas the stick would let the water pool in your yard and contribute to flooding in your basement.

      Now you've been in your house for 10 or 15 years, the kids are off to school and you're thinking about putting the house up for sale. Your property has one, or two or three mature ash. You've spent a fraction of what you would have spent to remove and replace them to sustain them.

      Who's better off? You. Or your neighbor who took "Really People's" advice?

      1. Recommend against treatment

        I live in Chicago.  I can promise you that they are not treating many ash trees.  I did a quick inventory of all injected trees in the neighborhood I live in this weekend, and you know what I found? Not a single tree with injection sites.  Chicago says they are treating trees, but if so they are only treating a select area, or a select number of trees.

        If your tree is 50% infested with EAB and you begin treatment, I can guarantee that the tree will be dead or close to dead in just a couple years.  I have seen it dozens of times and I have recommended against treatment to more property owners than I count anymore.  I also recommend treament WHEN IT IS APPROPRIATE AND USEFUL.  I don't even administer the chemicals, I make no money on treatments.  It is not in my best interest either way, I simply advise people based on actual scientific proof, and more than 10 years of experience with EAB.  But you go ahead and accept what Chicago and Milwaukee are telling you without any actual field experience.

        1. You are wrong about Chicago

          Chicago currently treats 400 ash trees each day for about a month. That's about 8,000 ash trees each month. With four months left, Chicago should exceed its target of treating 35,000 ash trees this year.

          The rain has been a tremendous help because it increases the rate at which the trees take up the chemical.

          The bad news is that last year's drought made the trees more susceptible to the beetles. As a result, the decline in ash trees from Fall to this Spring has been substantial.

    2. A plot by the NIMBY’s?

      "Ash were planted in massive numbers in response to Dutch elm disease. You would think that urban foresters would have learned their lesson about monocultures, but apparently not."

      Interesting point here.  

      Why must we have all of Evanston – or all of a given street – planted with the same species of tree? 

      I'm wondering if NIMBYs were involved in any way.  Just as all residences must be R1 and have a certain setback and alley width, etc….maybe all trees must be approved by the Central NIMBY Politburo Arbor Committee.    

      Just as there can be no diversity in architecture or zoning, maybe there must be "Arbor Continuity", where maples are permitted only in areas that are zoned M1, while oaks are permitted in O1, but a zone M2 will permit both maples and oaks  (but not walnuts).


  5. Some hope

    'Progress Made on Ash Tree Destroyer' Wall Street Journal Aug. 19, 2013 p.2 describes work to control the problem.  Certain woodpeckers [red belly], nuthatches and parasitic wasps [yes that is scary] and predators from China may help.

    1. Any confirmation ?

      While the large number of identified trees will be cut, is there any confirmation that the natural predators work and if so if the city/area is doing anything to use them ?

      P.S. the Wasps ONLY feed on ash bores.  They do not sting or bother people but we have such an aversion to bees and esp. wasps—and in reality most bugs—that most people won't want to take a chance.  Woodpeckers would not hurt people but they probably do enough harm to trees (?) that the city and homeowers would not want more.

      What I read the American Ash thrives in China because natural predators [those mentioned?] get rid of them.


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