Baie D’Urfé volunteers take on the emerald ash borer

By Rhonda Massad

Twenty three Baie d’Urfé volunteers have signed up to join the town’s squad to battle the insidious emerald ash borer (EAB) that plagues trees across the island of Montreal.

Volunteers will participate in a training program that will assist them in identifying ash trees. After completing the two-hour course, volunteers will then benefit from the on-site demonstration given by Jim Fyles, a McGill University natural resource science professor.

Ash trees will be identified throughout the city with biodegradable ribbons made of wood fibre. White ribbons represent public ash trees. Yellow ribbons represent private ash trees. Public trees that are eligible for treatment have an additional blue ribbon wrapped around the trunk.

According to Baie d’Urfé’s environment coordinator Emmanuelle Jobidon, once the trees are identified, the GPS coordinates of each tree will be plotted on a map giving the city a better understanding of the tree canopy. At this time treatment of specific trees will be determined.

“There is no treatment for EAB, the inoculation simply delays the inevitable death of the tree, “ explained Jobidon, ”Inoculation can cost anywhere from $200-$900 per tree every two years. By inoculating with the pesticide TreeAzin we gain time to plant new trees.”

At a seminar held at Beaconsfield high school on April 24, City of Montreal biologist and EAB expert Anthony Daniel explained thatthe prognosis is dismal. The process must be administered professionally. The inoculation is not guaranteed to ward off the pest but it is the only preventative measure available at this time.

The killer Asian insect was first detected on the island of Montreal three years ago and has already spread to hundreds of trees. Montreal has spent millions on the more than 300,000 trees on the island so far and at the April meeting the city had plans to take action to inoculate as many trees as possible.Slowing the movement of EAB and the advance of ash mortality also buys time for research and technology development.

On March 10, 15 demerged municipalities and 19 boroughs assembled to hear Réal Ménard, Montreal’s executive committee member in charge of parks and green spaces, address the insidious emerald ash borer.

According to Kirkland Mayor Michel Gibson, the purpose of the summit was to go over what measures are possible as well as try to convince the 15 demerged cities to ban with Montreal to pass a united resolution. The 15 suburban mayors refused the offer but were willing to work closely with Montreal to eradicate the pest.

“If we had not refused to join forces with Montreal, Baie d’Urfé would be sending an extra $3 million to Montreal right now,” said Baie d’Urfé mayor Maria Tutino at the July public council meeting.

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