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Humboldt Park Lost 650 Trees To Deadly Emerald Ash Borer

By Rachel Cromidas in News on Jun 15, 2015 9:45PM

Humboldt Park is the latest battleground in the local fight against the emerald ash borer, a pesky insect that is feeding on the region's ash trees and spreading rapidly.

The emerald ash borer, a beetle, has been eating into Illinois's white ash tree population since the mid-2000s. In some places its devastation has been transformed into art thanks to a partnership with the Chicago Park District and local artists who carve sculptures out of dead trees. But where the volume of affected trees is too great, the city has been turning to the axe.

About 650 leafless ash trees will be cut down in the coming weeks in Humboldt Park, according to DNAinfo. The recovered wood will be recycled for construction projects that call for harbor decks and benches.

Two years ago the city dedicated a $2.6 million fund toward treating Chicago's endangered ash trees, which can be temporarily inoculated against the invasive beetle. The city stopped planting ash trees when the beetle emerged in 2003, but the tree still make up a significant, 17 percent chunk of the city's public trees.

Some trees can be injected with the chemical Emamectin Benzoate to ward off the beetle, while the largest ash trees require an "IV"-like chemical transfusion, DNAinfo reported. While it's too late for the Humboldt Park trees slated for the axe, they will be replaced with about 350 new trees of different species, according to Ald. Roberto Maldonado (26th).