Emerald Ash Borer Update

Emerald ash borer (EAB), a destructive insect that has killed over 30 million ash trees in the Midwest, was recently found in the Prairie Pines Campground in Rantoul. This find will result in Champaign County being designated as an EAB quarantine zone. This means the movement of all “regulated articles” (ash trees and all non-coniferous firewood) outside of the quarantine zone will be prohibited. For a fuller definition of “regulated articles” please go to http://www.illinoiseab.com. This web link also provides up to date information on this pest.

In 2008, the City put all species of ash on our unapproved species list, no longer permitting the planting of ash on City rights-of way. We will continue to prune ash trees through our cyclic pruning, but will no longer take service requests for ash trees outside of the section we are currently pruning. In these cases the citizen has the following options:

  • The City can remove the tree, and replace with a new tree if there is adequate spacing (a minimum of 50 feet between parkway trees).
  • The adjacent homeowner can contract with a certified arborist to prune the tree.
  • The homeowner can wait until the tree will be pruned through scheduled cyclic pruning.

This year the Forestry Section will remove over 75 ash trees through a combination of in-house and contracted resources (this year’s CIP has $25,000 designated for ash removal). We are pro-actively removing ash trees that are in poor condition in an effort to reduce our ash population to lessen the impact of EAB. We hope to remove at least 100 trees per year over the next few years.

The population of ash trees on City rights-of-way is approximately 2,100, representing 10% of the total street tree population.