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City of Kingston continues with ash tree removals to keep emerald ash borers in check

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In a bid to keep emerald ash borers (EAB) in check, the City of Kingston has revealed that it is going to continue its plans of removal of ash trees across the city.

Authorities have revealed that as many as 500 ash trees are to be removed in 2016. The City has also revealed its EAB Impact Cost Mitigation Plan that outlines its plans under which it will deal with 3,500 ash trees on its property.

“These removals are part of our multi-year plan to manage the effects of this invasive beetle that turns ash trees to dust. Property-owners are reminded that they are responsible for cutting down or treating ash trees on their land,” says Troy Stubinski, manager, public works.

While authorities are carrying out the necessary work at the city levels, individuals have also been reminded that they are responsible for cutting down or treating the ash trees on their lands that are affected by the invasive beetle. There are quite a few healthy ash trees still standing in the city and authorities are committed to protecting them from the invasive species. The City revealed that they are also going ahead with the bi-annual treatment of 600 of the larger, healthy ash trees – a process started two years ago.

Authorities said that while they will be going ahead with the treatment, treating all the ash trees isn’t something that is sustainable and adds to the cost and for this reason, removal of the ash trees and their replacement with other species is something that they will also be undertaking over the course of next few years. Locations for the new planting may vary from the original tree to avoid existing infrastructure, such as power lines.

The emerald ash borer (Agrilus planipennis) is an invasive beetle that kills ash trees over a period of two to six years and was confirmed in the Kingston area three years ago. Adult beetles are generally bright metallic green and about 8.5 millimeters long and is native to eastern Asia. A female can live about six weeks and lay approximately 40 to 70 eggs that hatch within two weeks, with longer living female laying up to 200 eggs.

EAB primarily infest and can cause significant damage to ash species including green ash, black ash, white ash, and blue ash in North America. In Europe, Fraxinus excelsior is the main ash species colonized by EAB. Ash susceptibility can vary due to the attractiveness of chemical volatiles to adults, or the ability of larvae to detoxify phenolic compounds. EAB has also been found infesting white fringe tree in North America, which is a non-ash host, but it is unclear whether the trees were healthy when first infested, or were already in decline due to drought.

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