City says clean-up of Winnipeg’s storm-damaged trees could take a year

Winnipeg’s clean up of storm-damaged trees could take a year
The City of Winnipeg says the clean up of broken trees after a rare fall snow storm could take up to a year, Global News' Amber McGuckin reports

It’s been one week since Winnipeg was hit with a record-breaking fall storm and the city says the damage to the canopy is devastating.

Martha Barwinsky, city forester, said about 30,000 of the city’s 300,000 trees have been damaged – that’s 10 per cent – and she says it could take up to one year to clean it all up.

READ MORE: Manitoba residents buckle down, check on neighbours as lack of power from snow storm grinds on

“The storm was horrible timing because a lot the trees still were in full leaf, they hadn’t shed their leaves yet. With the added weight of the wet rain, the freezing rain and the wet snow, the weight with the winds resulted in significant damage,” she said.

The city says all hands are on deck and crews from Saskatoon, Regina and Calgary are coming to help.

“It’s absolutely devastating.”

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“The urban forest has suffered a devastating impact from the storm on top of the high numbers from Dutch elm disease and the losses we will incur and on top of the upcoming losses of the emerald ash borer,” Barwinsky said.

READ MORE: City of Winnipeg asks for provincial aid in storm aftermath

It could be up to five years before the replanting process is done, according to the city.

“We’ve been in contact with our local nursery suppliers in the province, they have also sustained damage so we are also factoring in that there will be a problem or challenge with nursery stock in the coming years because they have sustained damage to their stock.”

The city will handle all the cleanup for trees in parks and boulevards. You can flag those damaged trees to the city by calling 311. But if a damaged tree is on your property, it’s your responsibility.

Clean up continues after Manitoba storm
Clean up continues after Manitoba storm

“Address that damage now, but resist the urge to do much more. It’s important to wait and see how the tree will respond. It depends on the damage the tree has incurred,” Barwinsky said.

The city says people need to take the branches to Brady Road Resource Management Facility or to one of the City’s 4R Winnipeg Depots to dispose of them free of charge. The City is also opening the Summit Road Landfill, accessible via Sturgeon Road starting Friday.

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Small branches can be added to yard waste collection.

However, any elm or ash branches and wood must be properly disposed of. Elm wood must not be kept for fire wood because it can be used by elm bark beetles to lay eggs. Ash trees also have to be thrown out to stop the spread of the emerald ash borer beetle.