Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Letter to the editor calls for tree planting budget to be restored in face of threats to UTC due to DED, EAB, and maples losses; Oak Park,IL

Tree planting budget must be restored:
At no time since Dutch elm disease devastated the American elms lining village parkways in the 1950s and 1960s has the health of our urban forest been so threatened. The Forestry Commission is recommending that the board restore the entire 2009 tree planting budget of $100,000 for a fall planting program.
The village removes on average 150 to 250 elm trees a year. The number of elms dying this year has increased substantially, necessitating the removal of many of the largest tree canopies in the village.
Emerald ash borer has been identified in some of our largest ash trees. It's likely that most of the 2,600 parkway ash trees will require removal over the next 10 to 15 years.
The village can also expect high losses of mature maple trees due to the end of their natural lifespan. The combined totals of threatened American elm, ash and mature maples represents 35 percent of the village's total parkway tree inventory.
Prior to emerald ash borer, about 400 trees were removed annually; but those numbers could potentially reach 600 to 800 trees or more.

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