Harrison Park ash trees taken down due to ash borer infestation

0
53
Harrison Park ash trees taken down due to ash borer infestation

Breadcrumb Trail Links

Released April 29, 20234 minutes read

Ash logs are stacked at the Harrison Park Bird Sanctuary on Thursday, April 27, 2023 after city officials removed trees infested by the emerald ash borer ahead of the campground's opening and campers' arrival this summer. Ash logs are stacked at the Harrison Park Bird Sanctuary on Thursday, April 27, 2023 after city officials removed trees infested by the emerald ash borer ahead of the campground’s opening and campers’ arrival this summer. Photo by Rob Gowan The Sun Times

content of the article

As the emerald ash borer continues its relentless march through the city, efforts to remove dead and dying ash trees in Owen Sound intensify.

advertising 2

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

It is estimated that thousands of ash trees will eventually be removed from city parks, public squares, and forested areas and bluffs adjacent to private property. This year, Owen Sound will conduct a new tree inventory that will identify these ash trees on city lots adjacent to private properties, adding to the more than 1,000 ash trees identified at the city’s last tree inventory in 2015.

Owen Sound’s manager of parks and open spaces, Adam Parsons, said via email Friday that the city’s 2023 operating budget has authorized $75,000 to clean up ash infested with the emerald ash borer, an invasive bug that was first discovered within the city limits about five years ago. The insect’s larvae feed under the bark of the trees, disrupting the flow of nutrients and water, and eventually killing the tree.

content of the article

advertising 3

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

A tender for ash tree removal was issued by the city earlier this month, and a contractor will begin tree removal soon, Parsons said. The city, which employs two certified arborists, has already done some work to remove damaged ash at Harrison Park this spring. Last week, ash logs were piled up in the area of ​​the bird sanctuary and the park workshop.

“Most of the ash trees that were removed and placed near the Harrison Park workshop are from the campground and bird areas,” Parsons said. “Staff worked on these moves ahead of the camping season so we didn’t have to worry about campers and their gear.”

Ash logs are stacked at the Harrison Park Bird Sanctuary on Thursday, April 27, 2023 after city officials removed trees infested by the emerald ash borer ahead of the campground's opening and campers' arrival this summer. Ash logs are stacked at the Harrison Park Bird Sanctuary on Thursday, April 27, 2023 after city officials removed trees infested by the emerald ash borer ahead of the campground’s opening and campers’ arrival this summer. Photo by Rob Gowan The Sun Times

Owen Sound began preparing for the inevitable arrival of the invasive beetle about a decade ago, and in 2014 adopted an emerald ash borer management plan that sought to project its impact and provide direction for the next decade. An important part of the plan was to create a tree inventory of trees on city lands, including streets and within high-traffic areas of parks and open spaces.

advertising 4

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

The plan calls for 600 ash trees on city streets and rights of way and 7,500 in parks and open spaces. There are 1,092 inventoried ash trees identified in the plan on roads and in managed areas of parks and open spaces, but do not include ash trees in spaces such as city-owned embankments and hazardous areas or wooded and unmanaged areas of their parks.

In a report to the city’s municipal services committee last September, Parsons said a total of 72 of the inventoried trees had been removed since 2017. The city also removed more than 225 uninventoried trees in a forest restoration program near East 10th Street in the escarpment area around St. George’s and Victoria Park. In August, a total of 15 ash trees were removed in the visitor center area on the west side of the harbor.

advertising 5

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

Of the 1,092 ash trees that were part of the initial inventory, Parsons estimated that 850 to 1,020 need to be removed at an estimated cost of $1.28 to $1.35 million.

“The financial implications of managing the infestation of the emerald ash borer in Owen Sound will be significant,” he said.

Since 2016, the city has also been running a program where 165 selected ash trees that were part of the inventory are vaccinated every two years to protect against the emerald ash borer. Parsons said the vaccine was not 100 percent effective and it was suspected that some of those protected trees were infected and would need to be removed.

The effects of the beetle on the city’s ash trees were particularly noticeable last year. In the spring of 2022, staff began observing that nearly 100 percent of the city’s untreated ash trees were showing signs of advanced infestation, including sparse foliage and high numbers of epicormic shoots, creating a new urgency to remove dead trees.

advertising 6

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

“Trees become harder and harder to remove when the bark is peeling. It signals that the tree is structurally compromised and cannot be climbed or used for rigging, and increases the risk to tree workers tasked with removal,” Parsons said. “Dead and dying ash trees pose an increasing risk to roads, pathways, parks and private properties that border urban land.”

The new inventory will capture a 20-meter buffer between private properties that border urban forest areas. The city is responsible for risk management of trees within the buffer zone, which allows trees to fall without affecting private property, primarily residential building backyards.

Parsons said ash trees, which are not currently inventoried, are believed to make up between 20 and 30 percent of the trees in those areas.

advertising 7

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

content of the article

“This is causing staff to anticipate thousands of additional trees within the 20-meter buffer to be removed,” Parsons said. “An exact figure cannot be determined without an updated inventory.”

Parsons found that trees in high-traffic areas such as city streets and trafficked areas of their parks pose the highest risk to the public and are prioritized for removal, while those identified on unmanaged city lands pose the lowest risk, where the managed removal is done after that those in high traffic areas are addressed.

The plan will be implemented over a period of 10 years until the end of 2032. The city has approved $50,000 for the new stand of trees. A job posting for a nine-month contract tree inventory clerk position closes May 12.

And with so many trees being lost, tree replacement will be important since the city’s urban canopy has been so badly affected, Parsons noted.

Through a partnership with local NeighborWoods North group, 300 non-ash mixed hardwood species will be planted this year as part of the TD Tree Days program.

“As the removal process progresses, employees will seek to engage local volunteers to support tree planting and tree planting and tree regeneration funding opportunities such as TD Tree Days,” Parsons said.

Share this article on your social network

Comments

Postmedia strives to maintain a lively but civilized discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their opinions on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour to be moderated before they appear on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We’ve turned on email notifications – you’ll now receive an email when you get a reply to your comment, there’s an update on a comment thread you follow, or when a user you follow comments follows. For more information and details on how to customize your email settings, see our Community Guidelines.

Join the conversation

Display 1

This ad has not yet loaded, but your article continues below.

www.owensoundsuntimes.com

https://www.owensoundsuntimes.com/news/local-news/harrison-park-ash-trees-taken-down-due-to-ash-borer-infestation