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Tinley Park will replace 427 diseased ash trees

Brian Borcherding Tinley Park public works department cuts down tree infected by emerald ash borer 160th Place   76th

Brian Borcherding, Tinley Park public works department, cuts down a tree infected by the emerald ash borer at 160th Place & 76th Avenue. | Larry Ruehl~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: October 22, 2012 6:15AM



The emerald ash borers may be winning the battle now, but Tinley Park hopes to eventually win the war.

Hundreds of ash trees that have been destroyed by the tiny insects have been cut down since June, public works director Dale Schepers said. And the work is not done.

“They’ve been cutting trees since June, and there are a lot of trees (still) to cut,” he said.

Crews have been busy this week in the Brementowne subdivision, south of 159th Street and west of Harlem Avenue, he said.

Although hundreds of trees have been felled, help is on the way. The village board on Tuesday night gave initial approval to purchasing 427 trees that will replace those that have been cut down in parkways around the village.

The village will pay Lockport-based Beary Landscaping $99,918 for 427 new trees,

No, they won’t be ash trees, Schepers said.

“The real strategy is to have some diversity in our urban canopy. In some subdivisions, they’ll have no trees (in the parkways) when we cut all these ash trees out,” Schepers said.

The village hopes a diverse variety will help offset any future diseases that may strike certain species.

“Who knew 30 years ago when people planted ash trees, this would happen to them?” Schepers said. “Nobody knew.”

Diseased trees too large for public works crews to remove will be cut down and removed by Homer Tree Care, based in Lockport, at a cost not to exceed $160,000.

Tinley Park hopes to know soon just how many trees line its parkways. The village is in the midst of a tree inventory, Schepers said, “to get an account of every single type of tree we have, the condition and so forth.”

The tree inventory could be completed by late October, he said. The early estimate is about 20,000 trees, Schepers said.

A GPS point will be included for every tree counted in parkways around town, he said.

“We’ll find the biggest concentration of ash trees, maple trees or undesirable trees,” Schepers said.

The village is “also learning more about the emerald ash borer treatments that have been developed,” Schepers said.

It’s hoped that treatments could save some trees, he said.

“It depends on the cost, the condition assessment and whether it’s worth (trying) to save or not,” Schepers said.

During Tuesday night’s board meeting, Michael Stocklose, of the board representing residents of Brookside Glen Town Home Association I and II, asked if the village would replace diseased ash trees on parkways there. About 70 ash trees are or could be infected, he said.

The village will first determine whether the trees are technically on the parkway of village-owned streets, Staunton said.

If they are, the village will pay for removal and replacement.

If not, the homeowners association “can piggyback” and get the same price the village is paying, Staunton said.



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