Ash tree removal continues in Vaudreuil-Soulanges and West Island municipalities


PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK

A portion of a large Ash tree trunk lies on its side on Rue Perrault in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue May 27 following the town’s decision to cut down 10 trees affected by the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).

The scourge of the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) that has infested and decimated countless Ash trees continues unabated as the West Island city of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and off-island municipality of Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot launch tree cutting operations in their respective communities.

Ten Ash trees estimated to be one century old are being cut down in Ste. Anne’s this week on Rue Perrault because they are decaying and dying as a result of the Emerald Ash Borer. Mayor Paola Hawa said the Ash tree removal process is continuing throughout the city because none of the trees can be salvaged once they become infested with the EAB.

‘Trees are dying way too fast’

“It’s always sad when you have to cut down a tree,” Hawa told The Journal during a telephone interview on May 26. “We’re lucky that we were able to put it off this long but now it needs to get done. The trees are dying way too fast. The character of that street is that it’s tree-lined. It’s not going to look the same for many, many years without that beautiful tree canopy.”

The mayor said the city tried to salvage some of its Ash trees about five years ago by using a chemical compound to treat them but apparently it only managed to slow down their eventual decay. Instead, the city decided it would be best to cut them all down.

New saplings to replace fallen trees

“Salvageable is a big term because the trees will eventually all die. It’s a matter of how long you can prolong their life but they will die. That’s why a few years ago we started planting trees next to the ones we knew were on the way out. I’d rather spend the money on planting trees. The sooner you plant them, the sooner they’ll be able to grow,” said Hawa.

The city has a list of 10 varieties of trees it can plant to replace the fallen Ash trees. “We’re going to plant a mix of trees because we don’t want the same tree lining an entire street. Who knows, next year there could be something that infests oak trees and then we’ll be back to square one again. This way with a mix of trees, you won’t have to cut down all the trees on an entire street,” said Hawa.

PHOTO BY DAMON ROLOFF

The sparse canopy of this Ash tree on Boulevard Perrot in NDIP is just one of the many in the city infested with the Emerald Ash Borer beetle and, along with 10 Ash trees that were felled in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue this week, it’s slated to come down.

Notre-Dame-de-l’Île-Perrot

NDIP Mayor Danie Deschênes confirmed that the municipality will continue to cut down its Ash trees throughout the summer because of the EAB infestation. “We’ve been cutting down Ash trees for the last few years. We have to because they’re sick and dying. But we’ll also be planting new trees,” said Deschênes. Approximately half of all trees in the municipality are Ash and, according to the NDIP website, the city estimates the insect will affect 99 per cent of its Ash tree population.

The EAB has also been detected across the Vaudreuil-Soulanges region though the amount of Ash trees per municipality varies. Vaudreuil-Dorion, for example, reports only 10 per cent of its tree canopy is comprised of Ash. While the Municipalité régionale de comté Vaudreuil-Soulanges (MRC-VS) issued an EAB advisory to its 23 municipalities in 2015 to combat the insects’ spread, each municipality has devised its own approach to dealing with the issue.

Several Ash trees on NDIP’s scenic Boulevard Perrot along the shore of Lac St-Louis have recently been spray painted with an orange X indicating they are slated for removal.

“They are infected and we determined that the cost to try to save the tree is much more than it would cost to replant new trees. It’s very unfortunate. We can’t save them. It’s too costly to keep them alive knowing that they’re going to die anyway,” Deschênes said.

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