Crystal Lake residents can expect an increase in tree removal and planting work within the next few weeks.
The city council last week approved the purchase of 506 trees for the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 Parkway Tree Planting Program.
The city will buy a mixture of tree varieties from Goodmark Nurseries, of Wonder Lake, including maples, Lindens, locust, Hackberry and oaks. The cost of the trees is $54,140, according to the bid awarded.
The trees will replace green and white ash trees damaged and killed by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer beetle. The beetle, which only was detected in Illinois in 2006, is a highly-invasive, destructive insect that feeds on ash trees.
Crystal Lake has nearly 6,000 ash trees throughout the city. The trees were an affordable and plentiful variety used by housing and commercial developers years ago.
"The Department of Natural Resources tells us that we'll likely lose them all," said Larry Zurek, street division superintendent. "We've removed almost 1,000 ash trees so far."
Zurek said a large percentage of the dying trees are located on the south side of the city - in neighborhoods located along Miller Road and stretching north to Barlina Road.
"We have taken down over 300 ash trees this year," said Victor Ramirez, public works director for Crystal Lake. "We need to take down another 200 more this year."
Plans call for bringing in half of the 506 trees this fall for planting, and the other half in the spring. Prior to each planting season, the city's arborist travels to the nursery to inspect the stock and select the trees to be delivered to ensure quality, city documents state.