Emerald Ash Borer brings Beaconsfield residents out to city hall

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Emerald Ash Borer takes our Ash Trees

by Rhonda Massad

I attended the Emerald Ash Tree town hall meeting in Beaconsfield last night.  There was a short presentation about the deadly emerald ash borer that will wreak havoc on tree canopies across the country over the next few years.  It has already claimed millions of trees and dollars throughout North America.  It is a sad situation no matter how you look at it.

What is available to buy us some time is a class 4 pesticide called TreeAzin, not a cure and needs to be applied professionally over 14 to 20 years at $200.00  an application per tree every two years.

Pesticides in Canada are run through rigorous guidelines by the Pesticide Management Regulatory Agency, PMRA.  A class 4 pesticide is not as harmful as others but as stated by Mr. Meating, president of BioForest producer of TreeAzin, but still a pesticide.  Like myself and many other people Mr. Meating prefers to apply as little pesticide to his own land as possible.

“My grass and trees look awful,” he told me last night after the meeting,”I began my career testing pesticides because I wanted to make sure they were as harmless as possible. But all pesticides have a risk factor.”

My own personal preoccupation on this issue is there are no long-term studies on the impact of applying this pesticide repeatedly over the next 14 to 20 years or more to our ecosystem.  It has been determined that there is very little residue of this pesticide left in the leaves when they fall, but there is some –  which Mr. Meating agreed to when my question to council got redirected to him.

I wanted to hear from my city council, not really the man selling the pesticide, that they would apply the necessary pressure to higher levels of government to do an independent study and make sure this island wide pesticide application was not going to be something we were sorry about in 10 to 20 years.  My question was never answered by council.

That being said, I recognize municipalities have to do give residents a structure of guildlines to work with. Letting the ash trees die without action causes another issue.  Many health issues, such as respiratory illness and heat islands will result if all the trees go at once. That is not good news either.

I liked the suggestion of Mr. Meating who was chatting with a couple with more than 30 trees on their property.  He advised them to choose their best trees, treat those and over time replace the others with other tree species.  Seemed very reasonable to me – limit the amount of pesticide application, limit the amount of trees lost, maintain as much canopy as possible.  Not a bad suggestion for a really bad situation.

There is a bylaw in Beaconsfield being adopted next Monday, that will not allow us to cut down ash trees unless they are sick and issues a fine of $750.00 to the owner of any unreported sick trees.  This is too severe in my opnion.

I would ask council to reconsider allowing the people of this city to manage their own properties.  We are all upset about the loss of even one tree in this city.  Tree’s is one of the big reasons people choose to live in Beaconsfield.

I understand the city does not want people cutting trees willy nilly. That would not work either.  But maybe a compromise – allow those that have more than 5 trees to thin their stock and gradually replace what they have with something they can manage, when they can manage it. All within regulations outlined by the city.

 

 

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