By Rhonda Massad
At its February meeting, Dollard des Ormeaux city council approved a $50,000-a-year budget for the next five years to protect 200 ash trees against the insidious emerald ash borer (EAB) insect.According to DDO Mayor Ed Janiszewski, there are approximately 3,000 ash trees on public property and an unknown amount on private property. The mayor himself has ten ash trees on his own property.“There are simply too many to do an inventory,” he told The Suburban. “We have a 110-acre park and many small parks. Counting each tree is of no use, since we cannot afford to treat them all and we are still not certain that the treatment is effective.”It costs $250 or more per year to treat a single ash tree with TreeAzin, a systemic insecticide, depending on the size of the tree.
The Dollard mayor plans to focus the city’s resources on treating ash trees in critical areas.Typical signs and symptoms that an Ash tree is infected with EAB include an increase in woodpecker activity, the upper third of the tree canopy begins to die back in the portion of the canopy, and bark begins to split.Since Dollard’s policy has been to plant about 200 trees per year, there will be no additional budget allocated to tree replacement. However, the city plans to plant a wide variety of trees, to reduce the risk that they all could be wiped out by a future insect infestation.Kirkland in contrast, is playing wait-and-see.According to Kirkland director general Joe Sanalitro, the city plans to continue monitoring its 400 ash trees but won’t be actively treating them at this time. Kirkland will be seeking grant money to help protect its tree cover and intends to continue to raise awareness and providing support to its residents.The TreeAzin insecticide label warns that the product is “toxic to aquatic organisms and bee broods”.“As long as the product is administered professionally, there is no danger,” reassured Rigaud arborist Jesse Nestor, of Arbofolia.The treatment is designed to be injected under the bark and contained there, unlike pesticides that are sprayed. TreeAzin claims to kill some 95 per cent of EAB larvae in the first year of treatment.