Worth will declare a war on the wilt.
The Oak wilt, a fungal disease that can wipe out oak trees, has been found in Worth and it’s causing financial hardship on residents.
And there is nothing that village officials can currently do about it.
Mayor Mary Werner, however, is suggesting that residents take it up with state officials.
“We need to declare Oak wilt a nuisance,” Werner said at the village’s Sept. 2 board meeting.
She suggests reaching out to Illinois State Representatives, Bill Cunningham or Kelly Burke for help declaring it a state nuisance, along with the Emerald Ash Borer.
“If we reach out to state legislatures, we can have them add Oak wilt onto the hazardous tree list,” Werner said, “A lot of people do not know about Oak wilt or that it is extremely dangerous to trees once they are affected. I was honestly not even aware of Oak wilt or how dangerous it is to trees until just recently.”
Oak Wilt has targeted an unknown number of trees in the community, particularly in the Worth Woods area.
Worth Woods is a community of single family homes built in the 1950s located west of Harlem Avenue and south of Southwest Highway. One resident discovered six trees that were both dead and infected with Oak Wilt on her property.
But Oak Wilt is not among one of the hazardous trees listed for removal according to Illinois state regulations, and the state will not allow for the village board to deem such trees disease stricken and have them removed by the city’s public works department.
“The resident was quoted over $1,000 per tree for their removal and was unable to afford the expense,” Werner said.