Mayor Emanuel announced today that the Chicago Department of Streets and Sanitation is beginning the second year in a multi-year plan to inoculate approximately 70,000 Ash trees on Chicago parkways against the Emerald Ash Borer insect.
“The City of Chicago is committed to the health of the more than 500,000 parkway trees that not only beautify our neighborhoods, but offer countless environmental benefits,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “The continued inoculation of our Ash trees is a common sense investment to protect and maintain these valuable community assets.”
To support the care of Ash trees that line Chicago streets, the 2013 budget included additional resources for Streets and Sanitation to hire for the first time ever a dedicated workforce for inoculating against the Emerald Ash Borer. These crews inoculated 37,000 viable Ash trees citywide last year compared to the 18,000 total parkway trees that have been inoculated in Chicago since the treatment became available in 2009.
As outlined in Mayor Emanuel’s 2014 budget, the City continues to invest in inoculations providing Streets and Sanitation with $2.9 million for Ash tree inoculation as well as tree removal and the planting of approximately 2,800 diverse tree species. The Chicago Department of Transportation will plant more than 2,600 trees as well for a total of 5,400 trees planted throughout Chicago this year.
“The continued investment in a dedicated workforce for inoculations will have a positive impact on slowing the progression of the insect and managing tree mortality. On top of inoculating healthy Ash trees, the Department will plant thousands of trees citywide prioritizing areas impacted by tree removals,” said Commissioner Charles Williams.
This year, 24 general laborers will inoculate 35,000 viable Ash trees citywide by the end September. Once inoculations are complete this year, all viable Ash trees on parkways will have been treated.
The Ash trees will be inoculated with Emamectin Benzoate, known as TREE-age, which has been proven to kill 99 percent of Emerald Ash Borer insects within a tree. Emamectin Benzoate protects the tree for up to three years. The average cost to inoculate a tree is $46, compared with $1,000 to remove and replace a tree.
The Emerald Ash Borer is an exotic beetle native to Asia that was discovered in southeastern Michigan in 2002. The beetle has killed more than tens of millions Ash trees in southeastern Michigan alone, with tens of millions more dying in Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and eighteen other infested states.