TORONTO – Mississauga’s tree canopy has been spoiled by the attack of both December’s ice storm and the increasing threat of the Asian Long-Horned Beetle.
“We had a glorious tree canopy and the effect of the ice storm and Asian Long-horned Beetle have been devastating,” Bonnie Crombie, the councillor for Ward 5 in Mississauga said.
Wildwood Park in Malton has been hit hard as 5,000 trees had to be cleared from the park between February to May.
In total, 7,500 trees have been removed in Mississauga between February and May.
Nirogini Nalliah takes daily walks in the park and is surprised by the numbers of trees that have had to be removed.
“I am surprised but I understand we have invasive species,” said Nalliah.
The Asian Long-horned Beetle is an invasive species that was discovered in the region late in the summer of 2013.
“The larvae go in and chew the tree’s branch get holds in it so it can’t stand. It breaks down the health of the tree,” said Laura Piette, Mississauga’s director of parks & forestry.
Since last summer, a regulated area has been put into place by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency restricting the movement of wood and wood products in and out of the area: an area bordered to the north by Finch Avenue West, to the east by Martin Grove Road, the 401 in the south and Dixie Road in the West.
Officials say it is important to eradicate the Asian Long-horned Beetle from the area.
“It would just travel and move and take out more trees,” Piette said.
Maple, Willow, Birch and Poplar trees won’t be able to be replanted in Mississauga for several years because the CFIA needs to run tests over the years to ensure there are no more Asian long-horned beetles.
However, the city will begin planting other trees in the fall but officials are still trying to determine which trees will go into the park.
“I get a lot of calls from residents,” said Crombie. “They’re very concerned. I’ve had residents call offering to purchase trees and plant. We’ve decided as a community to have a number of treeplantings in conjunction with the city’s Forestry department.”