Early attention can help some ash trees
RE: Hamilton removing beach park trees affected by Ash borer (Feb. 2)
The decline in numbers of ash trees in the last few years has been visible and very unfortunate. Removing neardead trees and planting new species is certainly a step towards revitalizing our city’s urban forests, but it is unfortunate that the municipality often takes action when it is too late to revive infested trees.
Should Hamilton residents have ash on their property, they may take steps to preserve their trees. The most noticeable sign of infestation is canopy dieback — branches and leaves die from the top down. Residents can also look for D-shaped exit holes in the trunk to confirm that the dieback is due to Emerald Ash Borer (EAB). Infested trees may also have shoots of new growth close to the ground, because EAB tunnelling eventually cuts off nutrient and water transport to upper portions of the tree.
Once identified, infested trees can be treated using insecticides that make tree tissue toxic to EAB larvae. Some products may even be effective in later stages of infestation.
If residents determine that they instead wish to cut down infested ash, it is important not to transport the wood after felling the trees. Whenever possible, measures should be taken to prevent further EAB spread. Planting other tree species after ash removal will also help to maintain urban forests and all of the benefits they offer, including esthetics, shade, and storm water uptake. Kyra Simone, Hamilton