Early at­ten­tion can help some ash trees

The Hamilton Spectator - - OPINION -

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

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