City confirms emerald ash borer infestation

City confirms emerald ash borer infestation

CHAMPAIGN — What city officials always knew would become a problem is growing into a full-blown infestation as they confirmed 11 new cases in June of ash trees inhabited by emerald ash borer — an invasive beetle that is expected to kill the majority of the city's 1,889 ash trees.

The city already has removed nine of those trees.

Emerald ash borer was first confirmed in Champaign in 2012, but city officials knew years before that the bug was making its way down from Michigan and other parts of the upper Midwest, where it has already killed tens of millions of trees.

The city plans to remove 205 ash trees between now and 2017. The city has been paring down its population of ashes for years and has already cut down 105 since last year.

The city, however, is only responsible for trees on city property. Officials have never counted the total number of ash trees on private and park land. They have prohibited the planting of ash trees on city property.

According to the press release, questions regarding ash trees on private property can be forwarded to the University of Illinois Extension at 217-333-7672. Questions or concerns about ash trees on public rights-of-way can be directed to the city of Champaign Public Works Department at 217-403-4700 or by visiting the city's website, ci.champaign.il.us.

Champaign County continues to be designated as an emerald ash borer quarantine zone, meaning the movement of all ash trees and non-coniferous firewood outside of the quarantine zone is prohibited. More information is available at http://www.illinoiseab.com.

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