First, it was the buzzing of saws, cutting through the trunks of a few trees on the southwest side of Elmhurst.
Then, a buzz of a different kind could be heard through town, as neighbors wondered why the trees were doomed.
The answer? A pest that neither residents nor city forestry staff want to see invade Elmhurst's green canopy must be stopped. City Manager Tom Borchert said that tree removal was part of the city's efforts to get in front of the Emerald Ash Borer problem.
The Emerald Ash Borer is a small, metallic green beetle that infects ash trees, causing the crown to die back and the bark to split.
Tree removal has been reported in the vicinity of Euclid Avenue and Wilson Street, Vallette Street about a block east of Spring Road and on Swain Avenue just north of Vallette.
Borchert responded to questions from city aldermen about the removals on Monday night. He said it is imperative that the city be proactive in combating this urban scourge.
“Once it arrives, it pretty much devastates the ash tree population within a year,” Borchert said.
According to the city's Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan, “Ash trees in marginal condition are removed ... and replaced with high quality, non-Ash trees. ... The incremental removal of Ash trees reduces the immediate financial burden of waiting until the trees are in a dead or dying condition.”
Once the stumps have been ground, new trees will be planted, Borchert said, adding that the city contacts the owner of the property behind the tree targeted for removal. Most of the time, the city and the resident agree that tree removal is the best idea, but staff may reconsider cutting the tree if a resident has a strong objection.
The city's Web site also offers information about the Emerald Ash Borer.