Emerald Ash Borer

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is a non-native, wood-boring beetle 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. Richmond Hill, like many communities in York Region and throughout southern Ontario, has been impacted by EAB. It is expected that EAB will kill all of the ash trees in Richmond Hill. On this page, you'll find information about:

How to identify an ash tree and EAB infestation 

What does an ash tree look like?

Ash trees have the following features:

  1. Buds and stems are directly opposite each other along branches
  2. Leaves are compound and contain five to 11 finely toothed leaflets
  3. Bark is tight and rough and often has a distinct diamond pattern
  4. Seeds are oar-shaped and hang down in clusters

Ash tree stem, leaf, bark and seeds

What does an EAB infested ash tree look like?

EAB infested ash trees have the following signs:

  1. D-shaped exit holes in the bark
  2. S-shaped larval feeding galleries under the bark
  3. Leaves with ragged edges from feeding
  4. Very few leaves or dying branches
  5. Cracks in the bark
  6. Shoots growing out of the trunk

Signs of EAB infestation: D-shaped exit holes, S-shaped galleries, leaves with ragged edges

Signs of EAB infestation: very few leaves, cracks in the bark, trunk shoots

Ongoing ash tree removals and replacements on public property

Ash tree removal/replacement program and wood chip giveaway

The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is expected to kill all of the ash trees in Richmond Hill. The City is implementing a management strategy for ash trees on public property:

Removals

Streets (Boulevards)
  • All remaining City-owned ash trees on streets were re-assessed for damage in June. Trees with the most significant damage at the time of assessment are marked with an 'R' to indicate that they will be removed.
  • Removals will take place from mid-January to March 2021.
  • Stumps will be removed later this spring.

Parks

Removal of hazardous ash trees in parks is now complete. 

In some forested areas, ash tree logs and branches will be left on the forest floor after being cut down. This is because woody debris and fallen logs are an important part of a healthy forest eco-system, recycling nutrients back into the environment and providing habitat for plants and animals.

Replanting

Trees that are removed this winter will be replaced by the end of the year.

Pesticide treatment

Trees that were treated with pesticide in 2019 and are deemed healthy enough will be treated again this summer.

Free wood chips for your garden (May to October)

Using wood chips in your garden means less weeding, less watering, faster plant growth, protection from overheated soils during hot summers, added nutrients to your soil and less bruised fruit under fruit trees! 

Free wood chips are available for pickup at Richmond Green, 1300 Elgin Mills Road East. The pile is located at the west end of the parking lot in front of Tom Graham Arena. Please help yourself. Tools and containers are not provided, so please bring your own.

To help stop the spread of COVID-19, there is a limit of 5 people at the pile at a time. Please also remember to practice physical distancing unless you live together

Richmond Hill's plan to manage ash trees on public property 

Ash trees on public property

In Richmond Hill, we value our natural tree cover and are committed to protecting it. Our EAB Management Strategy aims to reduce the significant aesthetic, environmental and financial impacts of EAB on Richmond Hill by treating the largest and healthiest trees while replacing smaller affected trees over time. Implementation of the Management Strategy is underway.

We are treating some of the largest and healthiest ash trees along streets with pesticide (TreeAzin™) to help minimize damage caused by EAB. However, the City will not treat all ash trees. Property owners may apply for a permit to treat City-owned ash trees adjacent to their property with TreeAzin™, at their own expense, by completing the following application.

Application to Treat City-Owned Trees

Completed application forms can be emailed to naturalenvironment@richmondhill.ca.

What you should do if you have an ash tree on your private property 

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 we urge you to consult with a professional arborist about management options that will protect your property and ensure your safety. Arborists 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.

Residential and business property owners in York Region can have their dying, dead or removed ash trees replaced by LEAF for as little as $50. LEAF will help you choose and plant the right tree for your property. There is a limit of two rebates per property and rebates are issued on a first come, first served basis due to limited supply. Restrictions apply. Apply today by visiting yourleaf.org or call 1-888-453-6504 for more information.

*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.

Beaver Woodland Restoration Project 

Beaver Woodland is the forested area directly east of David Hamilton Park. A significant portion of this forest was made up of ash trees which have been killed by the Emerald Ash Borer. As a result, it is in poor health and vulnerable to undesirable plants which grow aggressively and have the ability to destroy our unique environment. 

Forest restoration work 2017-2022

Restoration work will include:

  • Dead ash tree and debris removal
  • Herbicide treatment
  • Tree planting
  • Monitoring

2021 work

  • Invasive plants dominating the woodland will be treated with herbicide this year in an effort to reduce populations and promote the growth of newly planted trees and shrubs.
  • Tree monitoring is ongoing. 

Our goal is to restore Beaver Woodland to a healthy and diverse urban forest while maintaining it as a recreational site for trail users. While the removal of dead trees and herbicide treatment of invasive plants will change the appearance of the forest, this is a temporary and necessary step to create space for new trees that will bring Beaver Woodland back to a healthy forest for the community to enjoy.

 

Visit the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for more information about EAB.