Elgin continues assessing storm damage to city’s trees

This article from The Courier-News features Davey's Shawn Kingzette telling homeowners how they can take preventive measures against future storm damage to their mature tree community. 

Posted:  Sept. 16, 2014

By Gloria Casas

The Sept. 5 wind storm that hit Elgin caused obvious damage with downed trees and wires, but it will take a while to determine the extent of damage to the city’s urban forest, experts said.

Winds estimated between 65 to 80 miles per hour struck throughout the city, with the epicenter on East Chicago Street.

Some description

City crews, along with contractors, are still in the process of removing trees and it will be an ongoing effort for the next month, said Jason Platt, crew leader in the city’s forestry department.

Then the forestry department will be doing block by block inspections on the 311 cases reported to the city and bring damaged trees back to health, he said.

“There will still be a lot more trees to evaluate and schedule for removal,” Platt said.

While the city’s forestry department continues taking inventory of the trees, Platt said there was a broad spectrum of trees damaged. He has seen many silver maples, Siberian elms and oak trees damaged.

Damaged trees are being grinded while some of the logs are being sent out for firewood. The mulch will be used for ground cover at area playgrounds, he said.

Some of the fallen trees were weakened by disease but the storm affected healthy trees too, uprooting young and old trees, Platt said.

“Trees with defects are more prone to fail,” he said. “We lost a lot of trees that on the outside appeared very healthy but with winds like this, it will take down any kind of tree.”

Elgin, which has the designation of a Tree City USA, has already been losing trees to Emerald ash borer (EAB), which began appearing three years ago, Platt said. More than 450 ash trees have been lost in that time, he said.

Some trees have been replaced, but the storm affected some of the young trees that were planted, Platt said.

Storm lessons

Davey Tree Service, based in East Dundee, is a contractor with the city of Elgin. District Manager Shawn Kingzette and his crews have been “ridiculously busy.” The storm was widespread and amazing, he said. The business fielded about 15 calls a day at the height of the storm recovery, he said.

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