In NDG, we love our trees. Why wouldn’t we? They are living organisms that provide us with oxygen to breathe, filter and clean the air, store carbon, provide shade, cool the air, allow for habitats for wildlife, and beautify homes and streets. So when we see the city cutting down these precious trees, it rightfully gives way to feelings of anger and misunderstanding. However, it is important to understand that the city doesn’t maliciously cut down trees for profit but instead, is doing it in order to conserve the others around them.

For instance, the pesky “emerald ash borer” is perhaps something you’ve already heard about in conversation or in a pamphlet dropped off at your home. Or maybe it is your first time hearing about this problem! Either way, it is essential to get a better picture of it and its impact on Montreal trees. The emerald ash borer is an invasive insect species that was brought over to North America from China in the 1990s and has been wreaking havoc ever since. It finds its home in ash trees and once there, makes itself comfortable.

It tunnels through the inner bark and lays eggs that in turn hatch and feed off the bark of the tree, damaging the very nutrients that it needs to survive. Little by little, faster than anyone would like, the ash tree begins to die.

If the tree is beyond 30% dead, there remains no choice but to cut it down. If it is not felled, it will infect the trees around it and cause the death of more trees than necessary. If you have an ash tree on your property that you would like to have assessed, please go to ville.montreal. qc.ca/emeraldashborer for more information.

If you do need to cut down the tree, the city provides a subsidy as long as you replace the tree with another one. All of the information on how to apply for the subsidy is also on the aforementioned website. If your ash tree is still healthy, you can get it vaccinated to prevent the insect from damaging (or further damaging) your tree.

Unfortunately, this year’s deadline to apply for the subsidy has already passed, however you can still get it vaccinated and pay for it yourself. Ash trees must be vaccinated every two years. Whether your tree is healthy or not, you are obliged by the city to act by either vaccinating it or cutting it down in order to avoid fines of $350-$700 and impacting the others around it.

So in order to save some trees, we must sometimes cut down others- as sad as that is. Montreal is working hard to fight the emerald ash borer, and with your help, we can do our absolute best to prevent this invasive species from doing any more damage. Call Éco-quartier NDG.

– Emma McLaughlin (summerstudent)