Neighbourwoods sat down with Mat recently and posed some questions that we know readers are wondering:
Does the Township use the Inventory Data we’ve collected over the years and if so, how?
Yes. We sure appreciate having the data on so many of our trees and use it in 3 ways:
- We have established 7 community maintenance pruning zones in CW, and tackled Zone 1 first because that is where we had the most inventory data. Knowing the structural health of our trees helps determine fair pricing for our pruning contractor.
- Our chief mandate in planting is diversity to mitigate the risk of widespread disease in one species. Because of Neighourwoods, we know that we have a large number of Maple trees, so we can make informed decisions about what to plant to start to build a more diverse urban forest.
- When I am asked to look at a specific tree, the more historical data I have about a tree, the better I can understand the overall health of the tree.
Speaking of planting, we are seeing lots of new street trees – what’s being planted and how many?
About 70% native species like Oaks, Hackberries and Serviceberries- which as small stature trees make them ideal under hydro lines. About 30% are non-native for 2 reasons; because there is a limited supply of native stock and some are, frankly, hardier for some sites– like the Japanese Zelkova (related to an Elm) and Katsura trees.
We’ve planted about 200 street trees in 2017 and another 200 in 2018 and plant to put in the same this year.
I’d like to remind residents if they have an irrigation bag around their tree, please fill it about once a week during hot dry weather, to help the tree get established.
What is the success rate of street trees?
About 90% – and we count on homeowners to do their part by watering, mulching and pruning their baby trees correctly.
I know the township is also planting in naturalized areas – can you elaborate?
I’ve organized some community planting days with help from the corporate sector which sends volunteers and provides some of the funding needed to purchase plant material.
In 2018, 90 trees and shrubs were planted at the Fergus Sportsplex with the Rotary Club of Fergus Elora and Green Legacy
- 290 trees and shrubs along the Trestle Bridge Trail near Southridge park with support from Vitner’s Cellar, CanSafe – Safety Zone Fergus, and Friends of the Grand.
- 141 trees and shrubs beside the Cottontail Trail with help from Union Gas, Dillon Consulting and Green Legacy.
And this spring, we planted 276 trees and shrubs at Elora Meadows Park, Harper Crescent Park and the Gzowski Street trailhead of the Elora Cataract trail with support from RBC and Green Legacy.
The Ash trees seem to be coming down faster now – is that true?
Yes. We are about halfway through the 12 year Emerald Ash Borer infestation and ash mortality cycle. We are seeing larger numbers of ash trees declining this year than previous years and expect even more next year. We’ve lost about 1,500 so far and 50 more are slated for removal next month. Our goal is to re-plant at a ratio of 2:1 but because it is so busy now, the rate is closer to 1:1, but we’ll make up for the trees down the road.
What about those drastically pruned Ash trees on Chalmers Street in Elora?
They will be coming down this year.
For homeowners who would like a new street tree, what should they do?
Call me. We’ll check out the site for overhead wires and ensure there is adequate soil volume, we’ll put them on the list and get to them as fast as possible.
And we have to ask the age-old question: is a public tree bylaw in our future?
There is staff and council support for it – it’s coming along. For one thing, it will be helpful for giving enforcement teeth to tree protection zone requirements outlined in our Public Forest Policy.
Thank you Mat.
People are welcome to call me at 519-846-9691 x 218 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.