Ever since the emerald ash borer (EAB) invaded the Canadian province of Ontario in 2002, Davey arborists and researchers in all company divisions have been on the front lines, protecting client properties from these tiny, green pests. Davey professionals have used innovative pest management strategies to prevent and control EAB populations from invading several other areas of Canada.
Green, mean machines
Once they're established in a region, EAB populations can multiply so swiftly that they can decimate a huge portion of ash trees in as little as three years, when populations reach a critical level. Although EAB is certainly not new to the U.S., Davey experts have used research to gain a better understanding of how to get ahead of this invasive pest and create management strategies that will help fight it.
Davey's involvement with EAB research and management is specifically valuable to areas where the pest has yet to arrive. Rapid population growth increases the likelihood EAB will invade nearby unaffected areas and begin infesting ash trees before the pests are detected. Because early EAB infestations are difficult to recognize, prevention is critical.
Saving a "Forest City"
The first thing most visitors find striking about the attractive city of London, Ontario, is the number of trees. For more than a century, the community has undertaken the policy of planting at least 1,000 trees on an annual basis, earning the nickname "Forest City."
As part of their planting program, they incorporated ash trees, as did many urban areas. It was considered an excellent street tree for urban applications and had nice form and rapid growth - until EAB invaded the area.
In early 2011, city officials examined trees in streets and parks and found EAB existed in all areas across London, with the greatest concentration in the city's north and east. They realized the insect had the potential to kill most of the city's ash trees in seven to 10 years if left untreated. The city knew it needed to do something or risk jeopardizing its status as a "Forest City."
London hired Davey Resource Group (DRG) to complete the city's EAB management plan in June 2011.
London was looking for a comprehensive plan that included inspections, treatment, dealing with large scale removals over a short period of time to maximize safety, and a replanting strategy. DRG came up with a detailed management plan that can carry the city through 2021 with the replanting of trees, which was subsequently approved by the city. Davey's residential and commercial (R/C) group in the region was awarded the treatment work.
One of the more unusual parts of the London plan was the city's inclusion of woodland perimeters and walking trails where brittle EAB-infested trees in decline could potentially impact private property or community citizens. Many cities do not include these areas because it's a cost challenge, but this was especially important for London and its "Forest City" status.
Ivan Listar, manager of urban forestry in London, has been pleased with the work. "We were initially impressed by their proposal and later by the quality of work and dedication of the team," Listar says of DRG. "The Davey R/C team also continues to do excellent work for the city, and I also get a lot of positive comments from residents about the professional service they get from their work crews."
Helping London find the best solutions for their EAB problem has been a "rewarding experience." London was pleased to have a plan custom-tailored to their city and situation.