Town continues ash tree removals from EAB-infested woodlands

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Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw

Gisele Shaw is the Manager of Corporate Communication for the town of Oakville since 2002. Prior to working for the town she worked for Halton Region as a communications specialist. She is a graduate of Humber College.

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This winter, as weather and ground conditions permit, the town’s contractor will begin year three of the Woodlands Hazard Abatement program to remove ash trees destroyed by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) from town woodlands. The town is removing dead and dying trees near public trails and bordering properties for safety and to allow new trees to grow. Trails may be temporarily closed as the work is carried out.

Residents are invited to an open house at Town Hall on Wednesday,January 11, 2016 from 6 to 8 p.m. to learn more.

While natural regeneration will account for most of the regrowth in the woodlands, the town is establishing a number of planting sites in select areas to help the urban forest regrow.

Ash Tree attacked by EAB

Typically, within six years of an infestation arriving in a woodlot, more than 99 per cent of the ash trees will have been killed.

“A thriving tree canopy brings tremendous environmental, health and economic benefits to a community, which is why Council has made growing Oakville’s urban forest a key part of our livable Oakville vision,” said Mayor Rob Burton. “Even in the face of disease, ice storms and EAB, our efforts to grow Oakville’s tree canopy have been paying off. We will continue to build on that success in 2017 and for many years to come.”

Following tree removals, logs, branches and wood debris are left on the forest floor to eventually break down, nourish the soil, and aid in the regrowth of shrubs and trees.

“The town is following a comprehensive management program to help our woodlands regrow after the impact of EAB, including natural regeneration and intensive planting sites. Over 14 hectares (34.6 acres) of woodland properties have been replanted to date,” said Chris Mark, director, Parks and Open Space. “We encourage residents to come to the open house and talk with our forestry experts to learn how EAB has affected our woodlands and how they will regrow.”

Removal of woodland ash trees is a multi-year program. Woodlands with more than 50 per cent ash population are a priority. Once these woodlands are completed, the town will begin removals in the woodlands with less than 50 per cent ash population.

The town will also remove some invasive species and trees other than ash that are identified as structurally unsound or are over-crowding the forest. By following this sustainable forest management approach, the Town of Oakville is the first lower-tier municipality in Canada to have all of its woodlands achieve Forest Stewardship Council® (FSC®) certification through the forest certification program of the Eastern Ontario Model Forest. The FSC® is an international, membership-based, non-profit organization that supports environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial, and economically viable management of the world’s forests.

The town continues to manage EAB in our active parks and on the road allowance, and has successfully treated over 3,800 ash trees, which are still healthy, with the bio insecticide TreeAzin to save them from the destructive insect.


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