The Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) which has devastated ash trees in southwestern Ontario and parts of the United States since its discovery in Detroit, Michigan in 2002, has been detected in the City of Toronto. The EAB is an introduced insect pest from Asia that attacks and kills all species of ash (genus: Fraxinus) trees.
In 2007, The Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) confirmed the presence of the EAB in Toronto in the vicinity of Sheppard Avenue East and Highway 404. Subsequent inspections in 2008 and systematic surveys conducted in 2009, 2010 and 2011 have confirmed EAB infestation throughout the east, north and west parts of the City. (See the City of Toronto Emerald Ash Borer Map).
All ash trees in Toronto are at risk of dying from this infestation. Mortality may occur in as short a period as one year, however, death normally occurs within 2-3 years of a tree becoming infested. The recent tree canopy study estimates that there are 860,000 ash trees in total on public and private lands. The initial areas of infestation detected in 2007 are likely to lose most of their ash trees by 2012. EAB will eventually spread to the rest of Toronto, killing most ash trees in the City by about 2015 - 2017. The City of Toronto has a plan (Link: EAB staff report) to manage the impact of EAB on Toronto`s urban forest. Public education is an important part of the City's plan. (link: EAB Public Presentation)
As a result of the EAB infestation in the City of Toronto and surrounding municipalities, the federal Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) has instituted a quarantine zone through a Ministerial Order which encompasses Toronto and most of southern and southwestern Ontario. CFIA Link: EAB Quarantine Zone.
The Ministerial Order identifies prohibitions and restrictions of movement on nursery stock, trees, leaves, logs, lumber, wood, wood chips and bark chips from all ash species and for firewood of all species. Unless authorized by a Movement Certificate issued by the CFIA, moving these products out of the Regulated Area is prohibited. This is necessary to prevent the spread of the EAB into un-infested areas in other parts of Ontario and Canada.
Learn more about the Emerald Ash Borer:
Note: Reproduced with the permission of Natural Resources Canada, Canadian Forest Service and images contained on the above pages are © Her Majesty the Queen in Right of Canada, 2007.
How to Identify Ash Trees:
Questions and Answers:
General Information about Emeral Ash Borer (EAB):
What is the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB)?
EAB is an introduced insect pest from Asia that attacks and kills all species of true ash trees (genus: Fraxinus) by feeding beneath the bark and disrupting the flow of water and nutrients within the tree.
How much damage can the EAB cause to trees?
Tree mortality will result if a tree has been infested with EAB. Mortality may occur in as short a period as one year, however, death normally occurs within 2-3 years of a tree becoming infested.
How can I tell if I have an ash tree on or near my property?
Link: How to identify Ash Trees (PDF)
Link: City of London ash tree identification document (PDF):
How can I tell if an ash tree is infested by EAB?
Unfortunately, this is extremely difficult. Without cutting the tree down and skinning off most of the bark, it can be difficult to determine whether a tree is infested. A lot of the symptoms associated with EAB, such as shoots (suckers), cracking bark, D-shaped holes and thinning crowns only become evident after two or more years of infestation. One or more of these symptoms may appear even without the presence of EAB.
Link: Canadian Forest Service "A Visual Guide to Detecting Emerald Ash Borer Damage". (PDF)
What will happen to the City-owned ash tree on or near my property?
Urban Forestry plans to remove dead and dying City-owned ash trees and will replace them, where space permits, as soon as possible. Homeowners will be notified of tree removal and replacement planting.
What should I do if I have a privately-owned ash tree on my property?
Property owners are responsible for taking care of privately-owned trees. The City recommends you monitor the condition of your tree, looking for signs of infestation. Most ash trees in Toronto are expected to deteriorate considerably and die over the next several years. When you see signs that your ash tree is dead or dying, you should contact a professional tree care company (you can find these in the Yellow Pages and other business directories). You should choose an arborist certified with the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) or registered with the American Society of Consulting Arborists (ASCA). Make sure to ask if there is a fee for inspection and quotes; some companies provide these services free of charge.
If your ash tree appears healthy, you may consider asking your arborist to assess whether the tree may benefit from TreeAzin injections (link to TreeAzin portion of `Managing the Impact of EAB.) In some cases, TreeAzin may be able to slow the EAB infestation within a single tree.
Private property owners are strongly encouraged to consider planting new trees before or after ash tree removal. Healthy trees can increase property value, help cool your home and clean the air, along with other environmental, economic and aesthetic benefits.
Do I need a Tree Removal Permit?
For trees on Private Property.Click here.
For trees within a Ravine Protected area. Click here.
Where can I get more information on EAB?
Please see the links to the CFIA EAB website or contact CFIA directly at 1-866-463-6017. Additionally, there are many sources of EAB information on the internet.
For more information about the City of Toronto's response to EAB, call 311.
Toronto's EAB Infestation:
Where in Toronto was EAB found?
In 2007 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) first confirmed the presence of the EAB in Toronto, in the vicinity of Sheppard Avenue East and Highway 404. Systematic surveys conducted in 2009, 2010 and 2011 have confirmed EAB infestation throughout the east, north and west parts of the City. Currently there is no evidence of EAB infestation in the downtown core. Urban Forestry is continuing the survey and will provide updates on new areas of infestation.
Please refer to the map of Toronto's EAB infestation. The map will be updated periodically as the infestation spreads. Shaded regions refer to the level of confirmed infestation:
- Orange - Advanced infestation tree mortality,
- Yellow - Low to medium infestation with no confirmed tree mortality.
- Not Shaded - No confirmed infestation
How severe will the infestation be?
far, infestations elsewhere in North America have increased and spread despite significant control measures attempted. Once established, EAB has proven impossible to control. Movement of infested wood, wood products or nursery stock has likely resulted in the spread of this insect to Toronto. Once established, adult EAB can disperse to distances of several kilometres by flight. Emerald ash borer is well established in Toronto; spread of the infestation and ash mortality is expected to expand City wide.
How many trees could be affected by EAB?
All ash trees in Toronto are at risk from this infestation. It is estimated that Toronto has an ash street tree population of 32,400 trees. The recent canopy study estimates that there are 860,000 ash trees in total on public and private lands. The initial areas of infestation that are detected in 2007 are likely to lose most ash trees by 2015. EAB will spread to the rest of Toronto, killing most ash by about 2015 - 2017.
Managing the Impact of Emerald Ash Borer:
What is the City of Toronto doing to Manage the Impact of EAB on the Urban Forest?
EAB is well established in Toronto and south-western Ontario and at this stage of the infestation control of the spread is no longer feasible. Therefore the City of Toronto has focused on managing the impact that EAB will have on the Urban Forest.
Urban Forestry is recommending a dedicated and comprehensive plan (EAB Staff Report: Click Here to view the report) to manage and mitigate the impact of the Emerald Ash Borer on the City of Toronto's forest in future years. Unlike previous invasive species like the Asian Long-Horned Beetle, Urban Forestry will not be able to eradicate the beetle. Implementation is intended to achieve the following key objectives:
- Integrate ash tree removals into existing operational programs to build efficiencies.
- Communicate information to the public in order to raise awareness of the EAB, prepare them for the removal of privately-owned trees and encourage replanting of trees on private lands to replace lost tree canopy.
- Develop proactive tree planting programs that will aim to replace tree canopy, particularly where ash trees form a large part of the existing tree population.
Currently the Urban Forestry Branch of Parks, Forestry and Recreation is working with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), the Canadian Forest Service (CFS), the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR) and other municipalities to co-ordinate the response to the infestation of EAB in Toronto.
Is the City still planting ash trees?
In 2003, before EAB was detected in Toronto, Urban Forestry instituted a moratorium on the planting of ash trees on City property. If you were proposing to plant an ash tree, please consider an alternative species. Click here (PDF) for access to a list of tree species recommended for residential tree planting.
Has the City already started planting new trees species in areas affected by the EAB?
Yes, the City has been proactively planning and planting trees in areas where ash trees form a large part of the existing tree population. This includes tree planting in parks, residential and arterial roads, and naturalized areas. These proactive tree planting programs aim to help mitigate the loss of canopy cover due to the EAB infestation.
Are there any pesticides that can be used to control EAB?
EAB larvae tunnel under the bark and feed in the cambium between the bark and wood. To be effective, a pesticide must be either absorbed into the tree through the roots or leaves, or injected directly into the active vascular region of the tree and become systemic within the tree.
A naturally-occurring compound from the neem tree, marketed as TreeAzin has been shown to have pesticidal properties against EAB in ash trees. At the present time, TreeAzin is the only product registered for use in Canada against EAB that has been shown to be effective in the control of EAB keeping ash trees alive.
TreeAzin is a systemic bioinsecticide containing Azadirachtin. A liquid formulation has been developed for stem injection by the Canadian Forest Service in collaboration with BioForest Technologies Inc. which developed the EcoJet System for its application. The pesticide has an Emergency Registration by the Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) of Health Canada for EAB control in ash trees. TreeAzin inhibits EAB larval development, prevents adult emergence, and provides preventative and remedial treatments.
For more information on this product visit the http://www.bioforest.ca website.
Is Urban Forestry planning to use stem injection of TreeAzin as a control method?
Urban Forestry is focusing efforts on the replacement of trees within areas of the city that are most vulnerable to ash tree losses rather than investing heavily in pesticide treatment to delay the death of individual trees from EAB.
While pesticide injection can be used to protect trees for a certain period of time, in order to provide an extended control the injection needs to be repeated every two years. Repeated injections may affect the long term health of the tree given the impact of drilling holes into the main stem. However, a study of wound response conducted on City-owned trees, showed that over 90% of injection site wounds were completely healed after 2 growing seasons.
The City is using pesticide injections on a small scale, case-by-case basis on selected high value ash trees. Urban Forestry injected 444 selected City-owned trees between 2008 and 2010 and is planning to do approximately 250 tree injections in 2011. The resources available to apply pesticides are limited and treatment is still new and being assessed by City staff. For more information on the City's Tree Azin Injection policy, click here.
I have an ash tree on my and/or City property. Can I have it injected to protect it from EAB infestation?
Homeowners who wish to use a TreeAzin pesticide injection to protect their own private trees are referred to www.bioforest.ca for more information and a list of licensed applicators. For homeowners who wish to treat City-owned ash trees on the road allowance in front of their property with TreeAzin treatment will be regulated by a service agreement and will be at the homeowner's expense. Homeowners may hire contractors bound by an “Agreement for Contractors to Perform Arboricultural Services on City-owned Street Trees”. (PDF)
It is important to inspect the ash trees for signs and symptoms of the EAB infestation before making a decision regarding treatment. Research suggests that the injection is most effective in the earliest stages of the infestation before visible signs and symptoms are present or in the year before the infestation happens. Heavily infested trees with signs of decline cannot be protected from the infestation. Contact 311 to request a forest health care inspection to have a City-owned tree assessed for EAB symptoms. We recommend that you contact a qualified arborist should you suspect that a privately-owned tree is infested with EAB. For more information on the City's Tree Azin Injection policy, click here.
What are the environmental impacts that will result from an infestation of EAB?
Ash forests provide habitat for numerous animals and birds and are integral to the health of soils and watersheds. In natural forests of southern Ontario, ash trees generally form a high proportion of the young tree population. The loss of ash trees will reduce or eliminate food and shelter sources for wildlife, thereby disrupting the ecology of tableland and valleyland forests. Ash trees are also valued as a street tree, being relatively fast growing and one of the very few species that are tolerant of difficult growing conditions typical in urban areas. The loss of the ash species will limit diversity of the future urban forest. All species of ash play an important role in maintaining the health of the environment in which they are located.
EAB Pest Biology:
Regulation and Disposal of Ash Tree Material:
What kinds of trees are affected by the EAB?
EAB attacks only true ash trees of the genus Fraxinus. Both native and non-native ash trees are susceptible. Common ashes found in Toronto include: white ash (Fraxinus americana L.), green or red ash (Fraxinus pennsylvanica Marsh.), black ash (Fraxinus nigra Marsh.) and European black ash (Fraxinus excelsior L.). Other susceptible native ash species are the rarer blue ash (Fraxinus quadrangulata Michx.) and very rare pumpkin ash (Fraxinus profunda Bush), both found in extreme southwestern Ontario. For information on identifying affected trees click here. (PDF)
What is the lifecycle of EAB?
The adult beetles lay eggs in bark crevices in late May - August and the emergent larvae tunnel into the outer stem of the tree, feeding underneath the bark. Larvae feed throughout the summer and over winter and pupate then emerge as adults between May and August.
Are there any natural enemies (control factors) to the Emerald Ash Borer?
EAB does have natural controls in the form of birds and other animals which feed on the larvae. However, predation has not had a significant impact on EAB populations in North America. EAB does not represent a significant problem in its natural range in eastern Asia. Scientists in Canada and the United States are working on the possibility of introducing natural control agents found in Asia where the EAB population is held in check by natural predators, pathogens, and tree resistance.
What is the role of the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) in control of EAB?
CFIA is obligated under IPPC (International Plant Protection Convention), NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement), NAPPO (North American Plant Protection Organization) to enforce regulations for control of invasive pests. CFIA staff may enter private property for the purpose of survey and/or control actions and declare things or places to be infested. Should you have any questions related to the regulations regarding EAB please contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency at 1-866-463-6017.
As of early 2009, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency does not inspect ash trees suspected of being infested with EAB. Should you suspect that an individual City-owned ash tree or ash trees are infested with EAB, please call within Toronto city limits: 311 for an inspection. Urban Forestry does not inspect private trees. We recommend that you contact a qualified arborist should you suspect that a privately-owned tree is infested with EAB.
How can I dispose of any ash material?
It is possible to move ash material and firewood of any species anywhere within the zone described in the Ministerial Order identified by the CFIA as Emerald Ash Borer Infested Place (Click here to see more information from the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA). (You may dispose of ash wood anywhere within this zone. Ash tree materials include ash trees (whole or parts), ash nursery stock, ash logs, ash lumber, newly manufactured wood packaging made from ash, ash wood or bark ash wood chips or bark chips. Presently, any ash material that meets the criteria for yard waste will be collected during regularly-scheduled pick ups by Solid Waste.
Tree limbs, trunks and stumps are not collected or accepted at City's Drop-off Depots if the diameter of the wood exceeds 7.5cm (3 inches). Exception: Duffern Drop-off Depot accepts limbs, trunks, stumps of any size if they are from a City of Toronto Asian Longhorned Beetle (ALHB) regulated area.
Material exceeding these dimensions from outside the ALHB area is the responsibility of the resident for proper disposal. EAB infested wood must be disposed of within the EAB regulated area (Link: EAB regulated area). Arborists typically include wood disposal in the services they provide. You can find tree care companies and arborists in the Yellow Pages under 'Tree Services' or through the Landscape Ontario website (link: http://landscapeontario.com/).
Can I take firewood (wood, wood chips) out of the City?
Due to the presence of the Asian Long-Horned Beetle (ALHB) and the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) in the City of Toronto, restrictions related to the movement of certain woody materials have been put in place.
With respect to the EAB infestation in Toronto, the CFIA has instituted a Regulated Area through a Ministerial Order which encompasses the entire City of Toronto and much of southern and southwestern Ontario (Click here to see the Minsterial Order).
There are now prohibitions or restrictions of movement on nursery stock, trees, leaves, logs, lumber, wood, wood chips and bark chips from all ash species, and firewood of all species. Unless authorized by a Movement Certificate issued by the CFIA, their movement out of the Regulated Area is prohibited.
This is necessary to prevent the spread of EAB to un-infested areas in other parts of Ontario and Canada.
Can I use dead ash wood in my neighbourhood or from the regulated area to burn for firewood in Toronto?
Yes, as long as the firewood originates from within the larger contiguous regulated area that includes Toronto or if the firewood originates from an area that is not regulated for EAB, you may use it. Link: to regulated Area: Southern Ontario
Can I get firewood or wood chips from the City?
The City of Toronto is no longer able to provide firewood or wood chips to the public due to the Asian Long-Horned Beetle (ALHB) and Emerald Ash Borere (EAB) insect infestations. After pruning or removing a City-owned street tree, Urban Forestry will not leave firewood on site for residents.