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Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan for Selwyn
March 31, 2017
BY TERRY GILLIS
At the March 28 Selwyn Council meeting, Mike Richardson, Manager of Recreation Services submitted a proposed plan to manage the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer on Township lands.
Last October evidence of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) beetle was discovered on Stewart Drive in Lakefield and a number of infected trees were removed. Logan Tree Experts owner, Matt Logan, said, at that time, that he and his crew were taking proactive steps to combat the “very beginning of an infestation” of EBA in the area.
In the past week, a second case of EAB was confirmed in the township.
The Asian (origin) Emerald Ash Borer was first detected in North American in 2002 and the beetle has proven to be lethal to Ash trees on this continent. Since its arrival, it has killed tens of millions of trees and continues to spread into new regions. Logan said that “once you find one bug, it’s a given that there are going to be thousands more.”
According to Richardson’s report, based on EAB infestations in other Ontario municipalities, it is understood that EAB populations increase exponentially 5 to 10 years after EAB has been detected. Tree mortality rate is very slow in the first 3 years, increasing significantly in years 5 to 8 and gradually leveling off as the Ash population is reduced.
The loss of Ash trees whose average life span is between 60 and 75 years will have a significant impact on the Township’s urban tree canopy. The Township has hundreds of Ash trees along township streets and in active parks.
Currently, municipalities are fully responsible for monitoring and managing EAB within their own resources.
According to Richardson’s report, there are sixty-one significant Ash trees within Selwyn Township.
An Ash tree is considered significant if it is:
- Prominent, focal point of a park space and provides significant usefulness to recreational activities;
- Is sufficient in size; greater than 25 cms. in diameter; and
- Shows no signs of EAB infestation or other ailment.
There are two options to treat the significant ash trees within the Township of Selwyn. The first is to bi-annually inject TreeAzin into the significant Ash trees. The second option is to replace the significant Ash trees that are not as prominent, have less usefulness to recreational activities and are less likely to remain healthy by planting another tree in close proximity.
In Lakefield, forty-two significant ash trees were identified. Treatment on these Ash trees began in 2013 and will continue for five bi-annual treatments ending in 2021. The approximate bi-annual budget of $10,000 for treatments is funded entirely by the Lakefield Trails Committee.
Of the nineteen remaining significant Ash trees, nine are located in Paul J. English Sports Park, four in Heritage Park and six in the Robert E. Young Recreation Complex.
Ten of the nineteen Ash trees (outside Lakefield) are excellent candidates for treatment. At a cost of approximately $200-250 per tree (cost is based on diameter) per bi-annual treatment that is required for 10 years or 5 treatments, each tree would cost approximately $1,000 - $1,250 per treatment or $11,250 for the ten significant ash trees for the ten year cycle.
The cost to plant replacement trees for the six significant ash trees in Ennismore would be approximately $1,350, unless other funding becomes available through municipal partners, government support or other agencies.
Council unanimously approved Recreation Services Staff recommendation to move forward with an EAB management plan.