Lately our office has received numerous complaints about the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestations and the costly damage to trees on private property. We’ve investigated in hopes we could find subsidy options or affordable alternatives. Here’s what we found:
There are no City programs providing subsidies to property owners for the removal of private trees including those requiring removal due to an infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).
Since EAB was first detected in the City of Toronto in 2007, Urban Forestry has been posting information on their website, conducting public meetings and workshops and sharing information to educate residents about EAB and the implications of this pest for both City-owned and private ash trees. Urban Forestry has worked in collaboration with the non-profit organization Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) on the EAB issue. LEAF has implemented an “EAB Ambassador Program” that includes consultation with private property owners regarding the impacts of EAB, discussions about management options and the role private land owners play in sustaining the city’s urban forest.
A brochure for homeowners entitled “What you need to know about the Management of the Emerald Ash Borer” was developed by Urban Forestry in partnership with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the Ontario Commercial Arborist Association. The brochure has been widely distributed within Toronto and throughout the province. The brochure includes information on how to identify ash trees and the beetle, the symptoms of EAB infestation, treatment options, tips for hiring a tree care professional and replacement planting.
Background on EAB and Toronto City Council
In 2011, Councillor Norm Kelly wrote letters to the Federal Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, and to the Ontario Minister of Natural Resources, requesting financial assistance for the control and management of EAB. The Provincial and Federal Governments have not provided funding to the City for the control and management of EAB. Also in 2011, City Council requested that the General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) requesting that the City of Toronto enter into a service agreement to permit the City to issue removal orders for trees infected with EAB, and that residents and the City be considered eligible for compensation for the replacement of ash trees removed due to infestation by EAB. The CFIA responded, noting that removing infested host trees is not a viable management option, and therefore no orders for tree removal will be issued. As a result of this policy decision at the federal level, neither residents nor the City qualify for compensation. They further advised that it is the responsibility of tree owners to cover all the costs associated with tree removal.
City Council authorized the General Manager of Parks, Forestry and Recreation to implement the EAB Management Plan, including monitoring, pesticide injections, removal and replacement of City-owned dead ash trees and enhancement planting within areas heavily populated by ash species. Additionally the Plan included community engagement programs to increase awareness and provide public education surrounding EAB.
Unfortunately there is no funding available from the City of Toronto to subsidize the removal of private trees. This is a link to Toronto Urban Forestry Operations tree removal.