UPDATED: Town of Oakville removing ash trees from emerald ash borer-infested woodlands
Town of Oakville removing ash trees from
woodlands to eradicate Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)
January 16th, 2017
While the emerald ash borer (EAB) beetle continues to infect local ash trees, the Town of Oakville is actively trying to minimize the impacts from the invasive insect.
To inform residents of its efforts, the Town held an open house Wednesday, Jan. 11 to provide detailed plans on the removal of dead and dying trees, impacted by EAB, from municipal woodlands.
Originating from Asia, the EAB is an invasive insect that attacks and kills untreated ash trees.
This winter, the town is embarking on the third year of its Woodlands Hazard Abatement Program.
Jalil Hashemi, acting manager of the Town’s Forestry Services, spoke to the about its current status.
“We’ve accomplished some good amount of work (already),” said Hashemi, noting this was the fourth open-house forum on the matter.
“We are making those woodlands safe for the people who are visiting (them) or parks or backing into the woodlands.”
He noted trees have already been marked for removal from more than 150 hectares of woodlands, which contain more than 50 per cent ash in their population.
Residents living near the affected woodlands are receiving notification that during operations, affected woodlands will be closed to the public.
“There are more than 50 per cent of the components of tree species are either dead or dying. We are removing the trees that are targeting town properties or people’s backyards, private property trails,” said Hashemi.
“More dead trees means more liability, more risk involved. For that reason, we are targeting them first.”
Once these woodlands are cleared, the town will begin removing woodlands with less than 50 per cent ash trees.
Trails may be temporarily closed to the public while the work is being done.
After removal, logs, branches and wood debris will be left on the forest floor to eventually break down into the soil and help shrubs and trees grow.
The Town will then begin planting trees through its regeneration program, in select areas, to help repopulate the urban forest.
Oakville also has a management program to treat EAB-infested trees on municipally-owned properties, as well as a replacement initiative to replenish every tree removed from roads and active parks.
The Town has different criteria for assessing infected trees and whether or not they can be treated, or if they need to be removed, Hashemi said.
This includes the amount of dieback or deadwood within the tree — if it has more than 30 per cent, it will be cut down.
“We score each single tree. If it gets to the minimum score, of qualification, then we continue doing the treatment. If not, it goes from the treatment to the removal program,” said Hashemi, noting symptoms of EAB infestation include multiple bark cracks and exit holes.
“The tree should have a minimum size of 20 centimetres or more (for treatment). If it’s less than 20 cm … it is more economically reasonable to remove it and replace it. We’re focusing on the larger category trees.”
According to Hashemi, the cost of treating, removing and replacing EAB-infected trees in all of Oakville in 2016 was $3.6 million and is expected to be in that vicinity in 2017.
“If it’s covered in buckthorn, the price is higher. The prices are different in different scenarios,” Hashemi stated.
“Buckthorn is a serious problem in our woodlands. It’s an invasive species that takes over other species (quickly). We have to control buckthorn to be able to have a regeneration.”
Scott Millard, longtime aquatic biologist with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, was pleased with the Town’s plan for removing ash trees infected with EAB.
“The Town of Oakville has a very good approach to managing trees and woodlots. I don’t like the fact we’ve been invaded by emerald ash borer, but it’s a North American problem,” said Millard.
The west Glen Abbey-area resident said EAB is a serious problem and measures implemented by the town are necessary to eradicate it.
“From my understanding … every ash tree will be infected. If it’s not already infected, it will be. I think every tree it is cutting is already infected. If it’s infected, it will die,” said Millard, noting there is some ash trees located near his home.
Millard called the regeneration program “a good thing”.
“It isn’t doing anything unnecessary. I’m not concerned about the amount of cutting at all,” he said.
The aquatic biologist also attended the forum to ask officials how they will handle buckthorn and was pleased with the Town’s response.
“What I heard was it will be trying to control the common buckthorn at the same time (as EAB) and that’s a good thing. There are only so many resources it can put into this,” said Millard.
“When we open up the canopy, common buckthorn is an invasive species that will grow fast. It is going to try to control that, eradicate it as much as possible with a selective herbicide.”
The Town is also planning on removing an additional 150 hectares of woodlands, with more than 50 per cent ash population, in 2019.
WITH PROHIBITION, OAKVILLE, ONTARIO, CAN EXPECT ONLY DEAD TREES !
Get used to the sound of chain saws ! Town of Oakville will spend exorbitant amounts of money because the province of Ontario arbitrarily and recklessly imposed prohibition against conventional pest control products that could have been used in the early stages of the emerald ash borer invasion. Because of prohibition, destructive pests, like emerald ash borer, are NOT controlled, leading to dying or dead urban forests ! Can municipalities like Oakville afford the hardship and cost of this #@!!% prohibition nonsense ?!?! WILLIAM H GATHERCOLE AND NORAH G