GRCA Partners With County on Tree Replacement Program

From Northumberland News: October 26, 2018

NORTHUMBERLAND — The county is trudging forward with work to tackle the emerald ash borer, it was recently announced.

On Oct. 25, Northumberland County released a statement outlining plans to host a public information session which will zero in on work starting this fall to remove ash trees from county roads.

The county will be starting its removal work in Cobourg and Hamilton Township, the release reads.

“This work is part of a 10-year hazard-removal, replacement and tree diversification plan in response to the presence of the emerald ash borer (EAB) in Northumberland.”

The EAB is described as an “invasive beetle” and it kills the trees by feeding on the inner bark and disrupting the flow of nutrients and water throughout the tree. The beetle originates from Asia and is believed to have been introduced in untreated, wooden shipping packaging.

County staff say there is no method to eradicate the species.

“We have pockets of ash trees throughout the county that are dead or declining due to EAB infection and, once infected, these trees are more susceptible to weather-related stress or native tree pests,” says Todd Farrell, the county’s forest manager. “This plan is about removing these hazards before they can fall and cause any damage or injury, and also quarantining the wood so that the EAB is not transported to another region.”

And the species has “caused the decline and death” of many ash trees throughout southern Ontario.

The county is planning to host its information session on Nov. 5 at the county council chambers starting at 4 p.m. The session will run until 7 p.m.

As part of the county’s emerald ash borer management plan, ash trees on county roads that are above 10 centimetres in diameter will be removed, say staff. The focus in 2018 is on Cobourg and Hamilton Township, but work is planned for all seven-member municipalities over the next 10 years, reports the county.

Farrell says that the 10-year plan is also focused on “increasing tree diversity.”

“Downed ash trees will be replaced with a variety of tree species native to this area to minimize climate and invasive species-related risks to the overall tree population,” he said. “To this end, the county has partnered with the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority (GRCA) on a program to make saplings available to Northumberland residents to plant on their properties free of charge.”

Funding will reportedly subsidize 60,000 saplings, which when broken down, is about 12,000 annually or roughly 10 replacement trees for every one tree being removed.

Applications will be available via the GRCA website before the end of this year, with trees slated to be distributed in the spring, reports the county.

Those interested in learning more about the ash tree removal work starting this fall on county roads in Cobourg and Hamilton Township, as well as the broader 10-year county plan and this EAB species, are encouraged to attend the Nov. 5 session.

Information is also available via www.NorthumberlandCounty.ca/EABplan.