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Huntley ash borer inspection survey slated

HUNTLEY – Spring and early summer usually are spent by many outdoors enjoying the pleasant weather.

But as temperatures warm, residents might be faced with another season of possible emerald ash borer infestations. Adult insects begin emerging in mid- to late May, while new larvae feed under the bark of ash trees for several weeks in late July through fall.

The younger metallic-green bugs burrow deep into ash tree trunks to feed off the plant until it eventually dies.

Last summer, McHenry County reported several cases of ash borer infestations, with two found in Huntley. That’s one reason that the village is working to finalize a policy on the potential removal and replacement of parkway ash trees.

A villagewide survey is set to begin June 1, village officials said, when workers will go door-to-door inspecting public ash trees. The town’s ash population is about one-third of all trees.

“This year, we wanted to go through and do a survey of all parkway trees to see, first of all, which ones are the ash trees, then do an inventory and note if the tree is infected with emerald ash borer,” said Barb Read, village management assistant.

Read said that if the parkway tree were an ash tree, residents would be notified along with whether it had been infected or not. If the tree is infected, it will be removed immediately.

“We’re not going to remove trees if they’re not infected yet,” Read said. “We’re not going to want to clear-cut neighborhoods full of ash trees if they have no signs of being infected.”

The policy also covers the use of the village’s 50-50 tree replacement program if residents wish to replace their infected parkway tree. Also, if residents have infested ash trees on private property, they must notify the village before taking steps toward removal.

Although the village will come out to inspect private trees, it will be residents’ responsibility to cut down the tree. However, with village approval, residents will be able to take infested trees 12 inches or less in diameter to the parkway so the village can chip and remove them.

Emerald ash borer symptoms include D-shaped exit holes, as well as S-shaped larval galleries under the bark, shoots sprouting from the trunks, and dead foliage in the canopy.

The policy will be up for official approval at the Village Board’s next meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Municipal Complex, 10987 Main St. in Huntley.

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