County plans information session on upcoming ash tree removals and replacements

By Cecilia Nasmith

Northumberland County will host a Nov. 5 public information session on work that will begin this fall to remove ash trees from county roads.

This work will begin in the Town of Cobourg and the Township of Hamilton as part of a 10-year hazard-removal, replacement and tree-diversification plan in response to the presence of the Emerald Ash Borer in Northumberland, the press release stated.

The Emerald Ash Borer is an invasive beetle that kills ash trees by feeding on the inner bark and disrupting the flow of nutrients and water throughout the tree. There is no known method to eradicate this invasive species.

As a result, county forest manager Todd Farrell said in the press release, there are pockets of ash trees throughout the county that are dead or declining.

“Once infected, these trees are more susceptible to weather-related stress or native tree pests,” Farrell said.

“This plan is about removing these hazards before they can fall and cause any damage or injury, and also quarantining the wood so that EAB is not transported to another region.”

The Emerald Ash Borer originated in Asia. It is believed to have spread via untreated-wood shipping packaging. It has caused the decline and death of many ash trees throughout southern Ontario, and its presence in Northumberland was confirmed in June 2013.

The county's Emerald Ash Borer Management Plan calls for the removal of ash trees with a diameter greater than 10 cm. that stand on county roads. Following work in Cobourg and Hamilton Township, the effort will continue throughout the remaining five Northumberland municipalities over the next 10 years.

The 10-year plan also focuses on tree diversity, Farrell added.

“Downed ash trees will be replaced with a variety of tree species native to this area to minimize climate- and invasive species-related risks to the overall tree population,” he said.

“To this end, the county has partnered with the Ganaraska Region Conservation Authority on a program to make saplings available to Northumberland residents to plant on their properties free of charge.”

Funding will subsidize 60,000 saplings (12,000 annually for five years), or roughly 10 replacement trees for every one tree being removed. Applications for the trees will be on the GRCA website by year's end, and the trees will be distributed in the spring.

To learn more about this initiative, everyone is invited to the Nov. 5 public information session which runs from 4 to 7 p.m. in council chambers at the county building, located at 555 Courthouse Rd., Cobourg – or visit