Here is the low down…
The Emerald Ash Borer Beetle is native to the continent of Asia. It was first located in North America in 2002 and has since devastated the ash population in Southern Ontario. Here is a quick video from Natural Resources Canada with more info. Despite several attempts to control the spread of the bug, it has persisted to spread throughout Canada and the US.
The larva of the bug burrows into the tree, just underneath the bark, cutting off the tree’s water and nutrient supply. Once a tree is infected, it’s health declines rapidly. Due to the bug’s ability to move quickly and spread easily to surrounding trees, all of the ash trees in Innisfil will likely succumb to the same fate.
Our ABP (Ash Borer Program) began last year with a survey of the ash trees in Innisfil and subsequent presentation to Council on the Town’s approach to deal with the local infestation. The program will be an extensive 5 year program to remove all the ash trees on Town property and replant a collection of trees that will not be susceptible to the same infestation.
The trees were categorized and mapped to help establish the priority for removal and determine the areas that will be affected the most by the tree removal. It should be noted that the map layer that identifies the Town’s ash trees and determined their condition is now a little out of date. Due to how rapidly the infected trees die, much of the data on the map may not reflect the current state of the trees.
The plan of attack is to remove the ‘Dead Standing and Dangerous’ trees first (this year) as well as any trees that are identified as such by staff through observation or report by residents. Removal will be done both by Town staff and the tree contractor on mass. This will mean that, in an effort to maximize resources, as we move through Town we will take both dead trees as well as trees that seem healthy.
In the coming years, the next priority will be the locations with large ash populations. First Alcona North, and then Alcona South, before moving into other areas of town.
What can residents expect?
Step 1: Tree Removal
Residents will begin to notice trees in their neighbourhood
being removed. Again, some may even seem healthy. We will move through the
mapped locations beginning where ‘Standing Dead and Dangerous’ trees have been
*Residents may also call in to report a dead boulevard/Town tree. Staff will attend and assess the tree to confirm the tree’s health and remove in priority sequence.
Step 2: Stump Grinding
When the tree is removed a portion of the stump may remain. This may be more prevalent if people have planters or other decorative items around the tree (which is a contravention of our Roads By-law). The contractor will attend to grind down the stump, add top soil, and seed the area. There may be a delay between the removal of the tree and the stump being ground.
Step 3: Replanting
Replanting of these trees will take some time. It is expected that replanting will be spread over the full 5 years. This means that although a tree may be removed this year, it may not be replanted for several years. We will be replanting a variety of species of trees. Due to availability and resources, we cannot accommodate specific requests for tree species.
*It is important to remember that, as will all tree replanting, the location and root bulb of the removed tree may hinder replanting in the same location. Although we will make efforts to ensure trees are replanted close to where they were removed from, this may not be possible.
The goal of this project is to contain and slow the spread of this invasive species of battle and ash wood has strict restrictions for transportation. As such, the wood must be collected and destroyed by town staff.
This program is to remove and replace trees on Town property. Trees on private property are the responsibility of the individual home owner. It is recommended that if residents have an ash tree on their property, they consider removing it.