New Drought Math For Emerald Ash Borer

Local government and homeowners have struggled to determine what makes more economic sense: cut down ash trees infected with emerald ash borer; or, treat them.

Local government and homeowners have struggled to determine what makes more economic sense: cut down ash trees infected with emerald ash borer; or, treat trees with an insecticide that kills the invasive insect. The average cost of removing a tree in the metro Chicago area is around $1,000. That cost includes cutting the tree down, grinding the stump and replacing the tree with a young sapling. Typically left out of the equation is the value that mature trees contribute to home values, which research indicates ranges from five to seventeen percent.


Treating trees costs approximately 70 dollars on the low end to more than 200 dollars on the high end. The lower number is the approximate cost for a city’s forestry crew to treat a tree. The higher number is a ballpark figure on what a homeowner is charged. Both numbers are based on a 17-inch diameter ash tree, which is the average size.


Using the city of Chicago’s every third year treatment regimen, a tree could be treated for more than 40 years on the low end of the range before incurring the cost or removal. On the high end, a tree can be treated for more than 15 years.


The drought of 2012 is doing its best to change these numbers. Many villages such as Lisle, that undertook a “remove and replace” strategy, are finding that the new trees are not surviving in these conditions. Government is also spending to water trees on parkways while thousands of trees being planted to replace ash are being lost. This means that the young trees have to be removed and new trees purchased and planted. The actual cost to remove an ash in light of this is rising dramatically, perhaps by as much as $300. Which means that the treatment alternative can be done for between 20 and 55 years for the same cost as removal.


It is unclear why governments with budget challenges would choose to incur the high cost of removing a tree when it is completely avoidable. For those areas where the infestation is not yet too advanced it makes sense to analyze the different emerald ash borer management options from a financial perspective.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

lynne basler July 26, 2012 at 02:56 PM
It would have been a good idea to go the extra mile to include the villages' policies on ash trees at this time. Are they arbitrarily removing? If so, where? When? How about the homeowner? Any options? Can they elect to choose treatment? What if the tree is on their lot, not in the parkway? This is the kind of stuff that makes an article valuable, not just mildly interesting.
TP Mom of 3 July 26, 2012 at 07:09 PM
Well said
Kate Shumway July 27, 2012 at 03:01 PM
At this time, the village is not taking action. They are neither removing ash trees or treating them. They will eventually be forced to remove the trees though once they die because their dead limbs are brittle and become hazardous. It will be more expensive for the village when they are forced to start removing and replacing the trees than it would be to treat them. For the homeowner, you can decide to treat any tree yourself, but it will be out of your pocket. We are trying to make the village aware of the issue so that they will at least treat the parkway trees. However, you will have to treat ay trees on your private property if you want to keep them. The village will not do anything for those.
John56 July 27, 2012 at 10:07 PM
I recently received a letter from the Village that requires me to cut down two ash trees on my lot. They are not looking too good and need to come down I know, but that's a tough $650 to swallow. They gave me about 6 weeks to cut them down.
Nancy July 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM
I also got a letter. We have already taken down two trees to the tune of $1200. I also have three more ash trees on my lot, one very large one in back and two smaller ones. I have been notified that I need to take them down also. These trees are not dead, but are showing signs of having been infested. Homewood is infested with the ash borer per Springfield, so I don't know if treating them would do any good. As for my huge ash tree in my back yard, I was told to have it taken down in approximately 6 weeks, to the tune of 5K. I am still looking for other quotes. The first person I spoke to at the Village told me that if I couldn't get the tree down in time, the Village would be happy to take it down for us and then place a lien on our house for the cost of taking the tree down. The second person I spoke to Jerry Maicach was kind enough to offer an extension to us due to the fact that my husband had been laid off and had just returned to work a few weeks ago. The upshot of this is that if you are like me and have numerous trees here in "Tree City USA" that have to be taken down, there is someone in the Village with a kind enough heart to listen and offer solutions.
T'sMom July 30, 2012 at 09:14 PM
In Homewood they have already started taking down the trees on the parkway last year. This year in June, they cut down these trees on our street, on the parkway whether they were dead or not. We have lost a lot of shade due to the removal of these trees and have increased our electric bill, so in our area Homewood it is not "Tree City USA" or "Home Sweet Homewood" anymore with all these trees removed and Homewood doesn't look the same, the character is gone.The tree that was took down off the parkway, looked healthy but I was informed that Homewood was taking down the tree anyway as they wanted no problems with it in the future. It is a such a shame Homewood doesn't help the taxpayer/homeowner deal with situations such as Nancy's with all the TIF's given to businesses and only the bare essentials are given to the taxpayer/homeowner, as we don't even have the branch mulching program any more, what is your incentive to stay in Homewood when there is no concern or services for people who have lived here for over 30 years and have stood by this village. This is the time when Homewood should work with their residents instead spending money on murals and festivals no one attends.
LocalRez July 31, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Great honest feedback for our village leaders to get. >> people who have lived here for over 30 years and have stood by this village Apparently that doesn't matter. Giving TIF money out to yet another new business for 40k or 200k for another restaurant is a better use of funds - I wonder how much the Homewood suites or the restaurant across from them received? Both are eyesores now. Maybe the mural can include images of trees???. Maybe the TIF money should be saved in a trust account and if the business doesn't survive it can be used to tear it down. I just don't understand why the Arby's building couldn't have been remodeled for the new Chipoltes they allowed to be build right across the street? If that one goes under we will have 2 empty buildings!
LocalRez July 31, 2012 at 03:24 AM
Too bad the treatment options weren't communicated and made available to prevent these trees from all dying off. This is a good article and they guarantee the cost is refunded if the tree does die. How great would this have been to do before? Probably much less cost than cutting down all the parkway trees. Cost looks very reasonable! http://www.tree-doc.com/page/page/3788874.htm
LocalRez August 01, 2012 at 05:05 AM
I'm not hijacking anything Tony, I was actually adding info on the posts subject matter. Maybe you could do better than just posting a URL with no explanation?
T'sMom August 01, 2012 at 01:26 PM
The URL is in regard to the village's free branch chipping service offered to residents & states it's been suspended until further notice . Which has been over 2 years ago at least. Yes, Mr. Dauginas, I am aware of this service, that I had used in the past, that was suspended which shouldn't have been. As I stated before we have minimum services that are given to the taxpayers of Homewood.
Rob Gorden August 17, 2012 at 04:16 PM
It's probably too late for this discussion to continue, as I just came upon the article, but for those of you who are facing the potential removal of your ash tree, be aware that the product commonly known as TREE-age can stop damage already occuring and in fact save a tree, if the canopy does not exceed approximately 40% canopy thining. After that there is too much damage. But, we have seen many trees turned around and saved this way - even after the trees become infested. Good Luck.


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