There are differing schools of thought on how to deal with the threat of the emerald ash borer, which has been closing in on the Riverside, Brookfield and North Riverside area over the past five years.
In December the expected bad news finally came in Riverside. A tree in northwest Riverside was infested.
The policy the village is going to take with respect to controlling the pest is simple. If a tree is found with the pest, it’s coming down. Or, homeowners with ash trees on the nearby public parkway can ask the village to take down the tree pre-emptively and get on the re-planting list sooner.
Long story short: the ash trees are coming down. Riverside is not going to attempt to save them.
The strategy differs in North Riverside, which has been treating ash trees with an insecticide for the past several years in anticipation of the ash borer threat. So far, the campaign has been a success and the ash borer has not made an appearance there.
But the village has spent more than $50,000 to prevent its appearance and must keep spending to limit the ash borer’s spread on public lands.
That money can be put to better use, we think in replacing ash trees – let’s face it, they’re not immortal – with other native species. It’s a shame to lose so many trees, but it can be done in stages and the new ones will eventually be as beautiful.
But it doesn’t seem sensible to fight a battle that simply can’t be won. The ash borer is here to stay and it will be relentless. Best to beat a retreat on this one.