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Ash Trees & Emerald Ash Borer

Two choices: Treat or Cut

Waiting is a poor option:

If you do not plan to treat your ash trees, and decide to wait, all your ash trees will become infested. Once borers are present, the tree becomes expensive or very difficult to treat. The borer will stay in your neighbourhood much longer and others treating their trees will need to continue much longer. Dead trees near buildings and roads will need to be removed by property owners at their expense.


Emerald Ash Borer
Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) was identified in Canada in 2002 and had reached the City of Ottawa in 2008. By 2012, the beetle had spread to Manotick, Richmond and Barrhaven and other parts of Ottawa and eastern Ontario. Emerald Ash Borer will kill all untreated ash trees in Ottawa, about 25% of all trees -- within 3-5 years (2018). There are an estimated 100,000 ash trees in Ottawa. No one can guess how many will be saved.

The City of Ottawa is dealing with the emerald ash borer by cutting trees down on city-owned property. Andrew Haydon Park lost about 1,000 trees in 2012. Maxime and Queensway parks near Blair Road also lost many trees. What were once attractive tree-lined streets in older neighbourhoods, now look barren and with depressed property values.

Emerald Ash Borer

Canada has approved the release of two tiny wasps from China to eat the tree-killing ash borer beetles, which otherwise have no natural enemies in North America. This is a long-term solution that may be implemented locally, but will likely not save local trees that will become infested in the short term.

2013 is the year you need to act to save ash trees near Manotick. Borers arrive quickly and leave slowly. All untreated ash trees will die and streets will soon look bare. Community associations should urge homeowners to decide immediately to treat or cut -- waiting is a bad choice. They should also lobby their councillor to treat more trees, or replace them now with young trees, not saplings.


Emerald Ash Borers take about five years to kill an ash tree, but there are very few signs of trouble until it is too late to treat them. The upper part of the tree will begin to die back. You will start to see shoots growing from roots and trunk. Bark may split, exposing the larvae tracks underneath. D-shaped exit holes in the bark are a sure sign of infestation. And woodpeckers may peck holes in an ash tree to eat the larvae feeding under the bark.


If you wish to save the ash trees on your property, treatment can only be applied from June to August. 95% of EAB larvae are killed in the year of treatment. Treatment is more effective and costs less if your neighbours also treat their ash trees - and treated before the tree becomes infested. This is not a DIY job. You must hire a qualified company to treat them with an approved insecticide. Current choices are TreeAzin?, two new treatments Confidor and Acecap?, and removal.

TreeAzin? is a systemic insecticide produced from extracts of Neem Tree seeds. It's injected under a tree's bark during the growing season and migrates throughout the tree. TreeAzin? kills EAB larvae feeding inside the tree by regulating growth and disrupting normal molting. TreeAzin? injections are required every two years and treatment does not ensure tree survival.

Measure your ash trees before calling the tree services -- price is based on tree diameter in centimetres (cm) measured 4 feet from the ground. For example 68 inches in circumference converts to 55 cm diameter. Quotes in March 2013 ranged from $300 to $400. Removal and replacement costs vary widely.

Costs and Benefits

Treating your ash tree can be a good investment when taking into account the cost for tree removal ($600 to $1000 depending on size and difficulty) and replanting. The benefits that trees provide include increased property value, energy savings, pollution control, and even health.

"People need to understand you can treat a large tree for 25 or 30 years
for less than the cost of cutting and replanting.? - Tree Service Canada

September 2012  (The Ottawa Citizen)


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