The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a non-native, invasive insect that attacks and kills ash trees. While EAB poses no health risk to humans or pets, ash trees of all species and sizes (with the exception of Mountain Ash) are susceptible to attack. EAB is currently posing a major economic and environmental threat to urban and forested areas across southern Ontario. It is estimated that millions of ash trees have already been infested and killed by EAB since it arrived in North America.
EAB in Richmond Hill EAB infested trees were discovered on King's Cross Avenue in Richmond Hill in March 2011. Its presence was confirmed across York Region in 2012.
Ash trees are widespread on public and private properties throughout Richmond Hill. They contribute significantly to neighbourhood and park aesthetics, provide shading and cooling effects and are important components of local ecosystems.
Ash Trees on Public Property Richmond Hill values its natural tree cover and is committed to protecting it. In response to the threat of EAB, Town staff have developed an EAB Management Strategy for trees on public property, which was approved by Council in October 2011. The Management Strategy aims to reduce the significant aesthetic, environmental and financial impacts of EAB on Richmond Hill through monitoring and treatment, ash tree removal and replacement, along with communication and public awareness. Implementation of the Management Strategy is underway.
The Town is treating some of the largest and healthiest ash trees along streets and in parks with pesticide (TreeAzin™) to help minimize damage caused by EAB. However, not all ash trees will be treated by the Town. Property owners may apply for a permit in order to treat town-owned ash trees adjacent to their property with TreeAzin™, at their own expense, by completing the application at the link below.
Completed application forms can be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org; dropped off at Richmond Hill's main Municipal Offices, 225 East Beaver Creeek Road, 5th floor; or mailed to Town of Richmond Hill, Attention: Natural Environment, 225 East Beaver Creek Road, 5th floor, Richmond Hill, ON L4B 3P4.
Ash Trees on Private Property Property owners are responsible for trees on private property. If you have an ash tree on your property and suspect an EAB infestation you are encouraged to consult with a professional arborist (these can be found in the Yellow Pages and other business directories). You should choose an arborist certified with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA), registered with the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA), or Provincially qualified Arborists and Utility Arborists by the College of Trades. Make sure to ask if there is a fee for inspection and quotes, as some companies provide these services free of charge.
It is recommended that property owners ask about options for tree protection, tree removal* and tree replacement. In addition, ensure that you get multiple estimates for any tree work.
*Permit fees for ash tree removal will be waived for the duration of the EAB Management Strategy (10 years), but an application must still be submitted to obtain a permit. Please visit RichmondHill.ca/TreeBylaw for more information.
Photo credits: 1. David Cappaert (Michigan State University); 2. Daniel Herms (The Ohio State University); 3. Rob Routledge (Sault College); 4/5. Keith Kanoti (Maine Forest Service); 6. Canadian Food Inspection Agency/l'Agence canadienne d'inspection des aliments; 7. Debbie Miller (USDA Forest Service); 8. Michigan Department of Agriculture; 9. Joseph O'Brein (USDA Forest Service).