Like communities and park districts throughout Lake County, the Zion Park District’s trees have been infested by the emerald ash borer. Park District Director Marilyn Krieger said a recent survey turned up 926 trees infested by the borer.
Removing and replacing trees is a big project but it must be handled, she said.
Happily, Krieger said she was contacted recently by a representative of the Morton Arboretum about a grant available from the Arboretum and Great Lakes Watershed for the removal and replacement of infected trees. The grant is funded by the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture.
Park district staff wrote a grant application and the park district was notified last week that it will receive a $20,000 grant. The grant requires some in-kind services. Krieger said Park District staff will remove the dead trees and plant the new ones.
The grant won’t cover replacement of all the trees. The grant application was for the replacement of 80 trees. “It’s a good start,” said Krieger. The average cost of new trees was estimated at $250 each but prices vary according to size.
Krieger said a requirement of the grant is to work with an arborist in deciding the variety of trees that would be best for replacement. She said they worked with an arborist from Wadsworth.
Krieger said the heaviest infestation appears to be in Hermon Park so that is where they will start removing and replacing trees. She added that Beulah and Edina Parks also have a lot of infested trees.
Krieger said the emerald ash borer is everywhere. “It’s amazing when you start looking, just how many dead trees there are.”
Krieger said the park district is fortunate that Cancer Treatment Centers of America at Midwestern donates trees to the park district each year dedicated to its cancer survivors. “We spend about $10,000 a year on trees thanks to their donations,” she said. “It’s nice to see those trees and know where they came from, what they represent.”