UPDATE: City will treat, or remove infected ash trees

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Emerald ash borer

CORNWALL, Ontario – The city plans to either remove or treat trees in Cornwall infected by the emerald ash borer.

City councillors decided Monday night that a wait-and-see approach to the problem wouldn't work, and has instead committed to spending millions of dollars over the next 15 years to combat the problem.

"Talk to any scientist and they will tell you how important trees are," Coun. David Murphy told Seaway News.

The plan will be to monitor the status of ash trees in the city and determine which ones have been infected by the emerald ash borer - a non-native insect believed to have arrived here after burrowing into wooden palates aboard ships.

The city will treat the trees they can - which should leave them healthy enough to live out a normal life.

Others that are too far gone wil be removed and new trees planted.

But it won't come cheap. The city could shell out as much as $5.8 million over the next 15 years on the program, bause nearly every ash tree in the city is a potential target.

“It has killed literally millions and millions of trees in the eastern United States, Ontario and Quebec and it shows no sign of slowing down,” Philip van Wassenaer, an industry expert, told city councillors last month.

There is no provincial or federal government help available in the management of Emerald Ash Borer so municipalities have been left on their own.

Murphy suggested the city will continue to lobby senior levels of government to come up with some kind of funding mechanism.

The emerald ash borer acts by laying eggs just below the bark layer of the tree, and when the larvae hatch they begin to feed on parts of the tree that conduct nutrients – resulting in its death.

The deaths of all the ash trees would result in more storm runoff, a significant decrease in available shade and danger from falling limbs and branches.

“When they die they have a decay in their roots very quickly…they start to fall over as whole trees,” said van Wassenaer, who was tapped by the city to catalogue the ash trees within Cornwall. “In most areas, once the pest is there 98 per cent of the trees will be gone unless they are treated with some sort of chemical.

“This is the pattern we can expect here in Cornwall.”

In Canada only so-called “trunk-injection” pesticides are allowed to combat the Emerald Ash Borer.

Geographic location: CORNWALL, Ontario, North America United States Quebec Canada Asia

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