They’re green. They hail from Asia. And their babies kill trees – lots of trees.
The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a beetle that is largely responsible for the annihilation of the city’s ash trees. It was first discovered in Windsor in 2002 and had made its way to Toronto by 2007.
The City of Toronto has been tracking the spread of EAB throughout the city, and reports that in 2011 there were 1,900 trees that had died or were dying in parks and on street boulevards. They expect 4,500 trees to suffer the same fate this year.
All trees that are dying or dead will be removed and replaced. High-value trees will be protected by Urban Forestry with a pesticide, TreeAzin, which is applied every two years for the life of the tree.
With ash trees currently making up nine per cent of the entire city’s trees, their loss will certainly make a big impact on the city’s canopy.
Homeowners with ash trees on their property are also being alerted to the issue. They are responsible for removal of their own trees, but the City will waive permit fees for infested tree removal.
Removal of ash wood from the regulated area as defined by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is strictly prohibited. For information please visit http://inspection.gc.ca/english/plaveg/pestrava/agrpla/agrplae.shtml.
Ward 32 Councillor Mary-Margaret McMahon is concerned about air quality as ash trees die.
“It’s a serious problem in our area,” she said. “There are pockets in our area that will certainly need extra attention.”
McMahon is asking residents to establish “tree captains” on every street in order to identify and track EAB.
For more information on EAB, visit the City of Toronto website at www.toronto.ca/eab.