Tree-killing ash borer is sinking its teeth into Cornwall

Tree-killing ash borer is sinking its teeth into Cornwall
City aborist Scott Porter examines a branch that includes the tell-tale signs of insect infestation - markings where the larvae of the Emerald Ash Borer have destroyed the tree.

CORNWALL, Ontario – It could cost homeowners in Cornwall hundreds of dollars to help defend against a tree-killing insect that has the Seaway City in its cross hairs.

Scott Porter, the city’s arborist,will host an open house Jan. 13 at the Benson Centre (6:30 p.m.) to provide an update on the efforts being made to combat the Emerald Ash Borer.

The Emerald Ash Borer is a destructive wood boring beetle which attacks and kills all native species of ash trees. It has been confirmed in Cornwall and it is killing ash trees already. 

Members of the public are welcome to attend to learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer, how to identify ash trees, identify the insect and signs and symptoms of infestation, what can be done to preserve an ash tree and the steps the City of Cornwall is taking to reduce the impact.

Each session will start with a presentation by Porter followed by a question and comment period.

He said in a previous interview the vicious Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is already plaguing Cornwall.

The insect lays eggs just below the bark layer and when the larvae hatch they begin to feed on parts of the tree that conduct nutrients – resulting in its death.

City hall had initally set aside some $800,000 to deal with problem via a low-grade insecticide, Treeazin, that is injected into trees and disrupts the EAB’s lifecycle – prohibiting it from reproducing.

It’s good news for the ash trees on city property, which are being inoculated over the next two years.

But trees on private party are not part of the city’s plans – so homeowners will have to pony up the money to protect them.

“It costs about $5 a cm…of the tree’s diameter,” Porter said. “It could be $300 or $400 a tree.”

And homeowners looking to save their trees may have little choice but to spend some money, either via pesticides or having the trees removed, because every ash in the city will be targeted by the EAB.

Treeazin cannot be purchased in stores. An arborist or other expert must be retained by homeowners.

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

The insect is believed to have migrated to Canada from Asia via intercontinental transportation.

– With Seaway News files

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