NORTH DURHAM: Renowned horticultural expert Mark Cullen issued a dire warning for Uxbridge councillors in regards to the threat to North Durham posed by the Emerald Ash Borer at their meeting on the evening of Monday, Jan. 28.
Mr. Cullen began his presentation by noting that the ash borer has devastated ash trees in cities such as Cleveland, Detroit and Windsor since its arrival in the American Midwest from Asia nearly 20 years ago.
The insect is currently wreaking havoc on trees in Ottawa, meaning the threat is looming for North Durham from both the east and west.
"Councillor (Jacob) Mantle told me that you don't have any ash borers, but I'm here to tell you that you will," warned Mr. Cullen. "But, you're fortunate in Uxbridge that you have some time before that happens."
Mr. Cullen then suggested that the township's parks department contact other municipalities such as Oakville, Richmond Hill and Markham that have been aggressively meeting the challenge of combatting the ash borer through the application of TreeAzin. The substance is derived from the from extracts of Neem tree seeds, and has proven successful in the treatment of affected ash trees.
According to Mr. Cullen, the affected trees are injected with TreeAzin in alternating years, with the process taking anywhere between six to eight years to complete. The cost per injection ranges between $200 and $300.
Councillors thanked Mr. Cullen for his through presentation on the matter, and noted that decisions regarding prevention of the ash borer may be coming soon.
"You have given council a lot of information to plan with before the problem is directly in front of us," said Mayor Gerri Lynn O'Connor. "We're going to spend our money one way or another, but if we can save them, I think that's the best course of action."
Public Works Director Ben Kester later explained that there are currently 440 ash trees on public land in Uxbridge Township, with most between 10 and 15 years old.
According to Mr. Kester, the cost of cutting down and removing these ash trees would be approximately $2,000 with another $300 to $350 needed to replace the tree afterwards.