Combatting the Emerald Ash Borer


Hampstead and the Emerald Ash Borer

It is with great regret that the Town of Hampstead must remove nearly 70 ash trees from the streetscapes in the Netherwood Crescent sector of the town due to heavy infestation by the Emerald Ash Borer. This work will begin on Tuesday, March 5 and will continue for the following two weeks.
These public trees have been heavily infested with this destructive insect and must be removed before March 31, before additional federal restriction come into effect preventing the transportation of infected wood. Removing these trees may also help reduce the further spread of this insect to healthy ash trees in Hampstead and across the entire West End.

Unfortunately, this work will lead to a drastic change to the nature of street in this sector, and will profoundly affect the Town's landscape for years to come. Many of these trees are old-growth Ash trees, and it is likely that other Ash trees not yet showing signs of infestation have fallen victim to this insect as well There is a high probability that all of these trees will either die or will have to be removed over the next several years.

The infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer is a long-term problem that will have long-term effects. It is estimated that nearly one in five trees on the Island of Montreal is an Ash tree, and this species is the only one susceptible to the insect. The Town of Hampstead is currently assembling a prudent and cost-effective tree replacement program, but even when implemented, it is not an immediate solution. Rather, it will take 10 to 20 years for the new trees to grow and begin to replace the Ash trees that we must remove. Information on this program would be made available in the coming weeks.

 

Residents have a role to play

Clearly, as insects cannot distinguish between public trees and those on private property, this troubling situation can only be dealt with effectively with the help of residents. The Town's efforts are only useful if trees on private property are considered as well. At this time, Hampstead recommends the following:

  • That all Ash Trees on private property be cut down and replaced with a different tree species that are not susceptible to the Emerald Ash Borer.
  • That tree removal should be completed by March 31, where possible. Trees that are cut down after March 31 must be left at the site and not moved until winter. This restriction applies to all parties involved in tree removal, including licensed tree contractors, building construction workers, municipal entities and any other person or organization.

A secondary option is to treat Ash trees with the pesticide TreeAzin, which has proven effective if applied early. Ash trees must be retreated every 2 to 3 years until the threat of infestation has passed. The Town Council does not feel that this is the best option for public trees at this time, but it will not restrict the use of this pesticide should residents wish to use it on private trees.

Should you wish to remove your Ash tree, please be advised that the need for a permit is being temporarily waived. The Town asks that you contact the Urban Planning department to inform us of tree removal prior to it taking place, and reserves the right to inspect the tree in question prior to cutting. Permits are still required for the removal of other trees. Please recall, however, that Ash tree removal should take place before March 31; if the tree is removed after that date, any wood that cannot be passed through a "chipper" must remain on site until the end of October in compliance with federal government restrictions. For details on this process, please contact the Urban Planning department at 514 369-8200, ext. 6438.

Collaboration is vital

The collaboration of all residents in this effort is extremely important, as even one infected tree that is not treated or removed can allow for hundreds of new insects to grow and spread elsewhere. Residents who have questions about the Emerald Ash Borer are invited to contact Hampstead Town Hall at 514 369-8200.