The emerald ash borer (EAB) is present throughout Guelph and the City has developed a plan to handle the infestation of City-owned ash trees over the next 10 years.
The EAB is a highly destructive, non-native, wood-boring beetle that feeds under the bark of ash trees. The City has been monitoring its presence since it was first discovered in Canada in 2002. The EAB was confirmed in the south end of Guelph in the fall of 2011. In 2013, testing confirmed the EAB was present throughout the city. Once established, it is expected that close to 100 per cent of Guelph’s untreated street, park, and woodland ash trees will be killed over the next 10 years.
Guelph’s EAB plan includes the treatment, removal and replacement of City-owned ash trees. The estimated cost to manage the infestation is between $15-16 million over the next 10 years.
The City estimates there are approximately 10,000 City-owned street and park trees that are at risk. As part of its plan, further monitoring is being conducted to determine the extent of the infestation, and an inventory of the City’s ash trees will be conducted.
Ash trees not showing signs of infestation will be assessed for possible treatment with TreeAzin™, a natural pest control product registered under the Pest Control Products Act for use against the emerald ash borer. TreeAzin™ is currently being used with success by several of Guelph’s neighbouring municipalities, the Grand River Conservation Authority, and private landowners.
City-owned ash trees already showing signs and symptoms of EAB infestation will ultimately be removed and replacement trees will be planted. Trees will only be removed when they are dead or in serious decline, maximizing the service life and environmental benefits of the trees.
“The plan is not about fighting the infestation,” says Martin Neumann, Manager of Forestry. “It’s about reducing the risk of injury and property damage, reducing damage to our urban forest, and sowing the seeds of recovery. We will save as many ash trees as feasible to maintain our urban forest.”
While the plan outlines measures to be taken for trees on City property, much of the community’s urban forest is located on private land. It is important for residents to understand their options for ash trees on their property. The City is currently working to provide more information about the EAB to residents, which will also be available online at guelph.ca/eab.