80% of Tree Canopy to Die

A tour “The Appetite for Destruction Tree Tour” of afflicted Ash trees took place in Guildwood, a Scarborough subdivision on May 26 to raise awareness of this nationwide disaster affecting some communities drastically.

From-  http://www.insidetoronto.com/news/local/article/1362185–guildwood-tour-opens-eyes-to-scale-of-ash-borer-threat              by Mike Adler May 25, 2012

People interested in Toronto’s trees will be welcomed to the jungle of ash this Saturday, May 26, in Guildwood, a Scarborough subdivision where almost 80 per cent of the green canopy will be dead in five years.

A city forestry inspector and a group called LEAF – Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests – are leading “Emerald Ash Borer Appetite for Destruction Tree Tour” through the neighbourhood to open eyes to the scale of the ash-borer threat.

“It’s one thing to hear the numbers and it’s another thing to get on site and see it,” Amanda Gomm, LEAF’s community engagement manager said this week.

Imported from Asia, the tiny green beetle reached Windsor in 2002 and was found in North York in 2007.

It has since spread east to Montreal, aided by people carelessly transporting firewood, and City of Toronto officials expect they will see 886,000 ash trees die here from the infestation.

In Guildwood, where ash trees are the dominant species, residents have as many as 20 on some properties and some are already worried about what removing them will cost.

The city’s parks committee last week received a “call for action” from the Scarborough-based Ontario Urban Forest Council, which argued federal and provincial governments are not giving municipalities financial or management support to inventory their ash trees, monitor the pest or remove and replace dead ash.

In an interview, Peter Wynnyczuk, the group’s treasurer, said landowners, from municipalities and school boards to homeowners should learn now about what’s going to happen to their trees. “They’ll have to plan for it.”

The federal government responded to an infestation of the Asian long-horned beetle by destroying thousands of potential host trees in northwestern North York and Woodbridge, but the borer is spreading too fast to contain.

It is also hard to spot until an infested ash tree is dying. The Canadian Forest Service has developed traps to monitor the borer’s spread to new areas and says it will be testing new traps simulating beetle pheromones this year.

It has also developed a way to find trees with early-stage infestations by sampling top branches and says it is experimenting with fungi and parasites, natural enemies of the beetle, with potential to control it in the long term.

Participants in the tour, which starts at 11 a.m. at the entrance to Guild Park on Guildwood Parkway (it’s free but a $5 donation is suggested), will see a tree injected with TreeAzin, a pesticide believed to repel the beetle if injected every two years.

TreeAzin is expensive however, and only certain “high value” city-owned trees are being injected.

Despite the bleak outlook on the beetle – which kills 98 per cent of hosts in five years – Gomm is recruiting people as EAB “ambassadors” who can talk to their neighbours about the importance of replanting and other actions they can take.

The borer, she said, “is not an issue to be hopeless about.”