By John Stewart
Special to Focus
The City of Mississauga’s war against the emerald ash borer has begun in earnest.
Yesterday, city councillors endorsed a plan to identify ash trees on public property that have been infected by the damaging beetle and begin treatment on the most badly damaged trees.
“We are taking the first step in managing the spread of the emerald ash borer throughout the city,” said Gavin Longmuir, manager of forestry. “Our 10-year plan addresses the need for ongoing management to preserve a percentage of our ash trees within the urban forest.”
The overall plan has been endorsed in principle, but is still subject to budget approval this fall before it’s fully implemented.
Last year, three locations where the emerald ash borer is infecting City-owned trees were identified: in woodlots near Dixie Rd. and Eglinton Ave., in the Winston Churchill Blvd. and Dundas St. W. area of Erin Mills and at Erin Mills Pkwy. and Britannia Rd., west of Streetsville.
Select trees located within half a kilometre of the identified locations will be treated with insecticide between mid-July and the end of August.
In a press release, the City said that it won’t treat trees located on private property.
“The forestry section encourages residents to continually inspect their ash trees and contact a certified arborist if they suspect the emerald ash borer on their property.”
The emerald ash borer is a highly destructive, invasive pest that was discovered to have migrated to southwestern Ontario about six years ago. It is native to China and eastern Asia and may have been introduced to North America via wooden packaging material.
The beetle is metallic green in colour and about two inches long. It’s no threat to human health.
Adult beetles lay eggs in bark crevices in early summer which hatch after a few weeks. The larvae then chew the outer bark and feed on the inner bark, creating tunnels that impact the flow of water and nutrients throughout the trunk.
The bugs are believed to have killed in excess of 15 million ash trees across Canada and the U.S., and billions of trees in North America are at risk of infestation or death.
The City of Mississauga will hire licensed contractors to use a Canadian-made product called TreeAzin to treat infected trees. The insecticide is injected directly into the tree, a process that must be repeated every two years.
By John Stewart