Officials in Kitchener believe they know where the emerald ash borer has spread in the city, how to deal with the damage and when the city might be ash borer-free.

They also know what all of that will cost – somewhere north of $11 million.

The emerald ash borer is a small insect which lays eggs under the bark of ash trees.

Thousands of trees across the city have been infected.

In the south end, crews have started going tree-to-tree, determining which infected trees have to be removed and which can potentially be saved with injections.

“If it’s in good health, then we want to try and keep it,” says Jim Witmer, the city’s director of operations.

“If it’s a bigger tree but is starting to decline because of the infestation, then we’re going to remove it.”

Last year, Brad Whitten’s tree was one of those injected – something done at a cost of $175 per tree.

He says he’s not sure it will be enough to help.

“If half the branches are dead, there’s no sense in leaving them on,” he says.

The city expects it will be able to save about 20 per cent of infected trees.

“We’ve completed removal of about 1,300 to 1,400 trees already, and we have another roughly 4,000 that need to be removed,” says Witmer.

More removals are already taking place, with replanting of those trees slated for later this year.

Witmer says replacing all infected trees is expected to take until 2022.