A plan to take on Ash Borers

Shawn Dias shows a map of Morden's tree inventory. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Morden Times)

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The City of Morden is taking a measured approach to the potential impact of the Emerald Ash Borer, removing some trees, while preparing to treat others.
Shawn Dias presented their ongoing challenge to attendees of the Nature and Garden Expo, April 5.
He spoke about the benefits of trees in urban environments and showed a map featuring the 6,000 trees in Morden. That number does not include those along the creek.
But it was issues of the Emerald Ash Borer that took centre stage.
Dias pointed out that ash trees became very popular after Dutch Elm Disease wiped out so many boulevard trees. He said 40 per cent of Morden’s trees are Ash. That popularity extends throughout the province.
“From one side of the province to another we have a connectivity for Ash trees,” he said.
Positive identification for the Emerald Ash Borer has not been made in Morden at this point. It was found in Thunder Bay in 2016 and Winnipeg in 2018.
That doesn’t mean the city isn’t on high alert. Dias said it’s estimated that the Ash Borer was actually in Winnipeg four years before it was found.
“It could very well be here,” he said. “We just haven’t detected it yet.”
The City of Morden has adopted a 10 year plan which includes detection, treatment and some removal.
Dias said their hybrid approach of treating some and removing some saves money, while preserving some of the healthier trees.
“Once we get Emerald Ash Borer within 25 kms we start treating,” he said. “We’re taking a preventative and proactive approach.”
Before removal, trees will be considered for condition, diameter and location.
This year they expect to remove 150 trees. All trees removed in 2018 will be replaced this spring.
The city has also adopted an approach of planting a variety of trees including new ones like Ironwood and older favourites such as Silver Maple, Basswood, Baron Maple and Triumph Elm.
Dias said the cold winter may have done them a favour but the actual effect on the Ash Borers is not yet determined.
“It might not eliminate it, but it might reduce it,” he said.

Sima Fever shows an example of a branch that has been partially eaten by Emerald Ash Borers. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Morden Times)