The spread of the emerald ash borer has caused significant tree loss in York Region this summer.
“York Region recognizes the devastating environmental and financial impact of the emerald ash borer on trees in our communities,” said Wayne Emmerson, York Region’s chair and CEO.
With support from York Region, the non-profit Local Enhancement and Appreciation of Forests (LEAF) offers subsidized tree planting to private property owners and help to replant new trees when replacing those killed by the emerald ash borer.
Property owners who have lost ash trees and are planting new trees to replace them are eligible to receive an additional $100 rebate per tree when planting with LEAF — up to five rebates per property, while supplies last. Homeowners, property owners and businesses in Aurora, East Gwillimbury, Georgina, King, Markham, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Vaughan or Whitchurch-Stouffville may be eligible for the rebate.
York Region is offering the rebate to help residents cope with the effects of the emerald ash borer.
“We are pleased to work with community partners like LEAF to help landowners replace lost ash trees to restore tree canopy and woodland cover and strengthen the natural environment against climate change,” said Emmerson.
The LEAF Backyard Tree Planting Program is designed to make tree planting easy. Program participants receive a 30-minute consultation with a certified arborist to help them select the species and locations that are right for them and their property. LEAF will then deliver the trees during their spring or fall planting season and participants have the option to plant the tree themselves or let LEAF do the planting.
“Our program is subsidized thanks to support from York Region and GrandTrees/Canadian Trees For Life. That’s why property owners normally only pay approximately half the cost of each tree, which ranges from $100 to $220, depending on program and species chosen. For those eligible to receive the EAB rebate, the cost comes down by another $100 per tree,” says Erin MacDonald, acting executive director at LEAF.
The borer is an invasive insect that bores underneath the bark of ashes, cutting off the tree’s water and nutrient supply and killing it in two to three years. It is expected that over two million ash trees in York Region will be killed by the borer in the next 10 to 15 years.
In addition to the replanting rebate, a borer advisory services program is available for landowners who have ash trees in their woodlot. More information, tools and services can be found on york.ca/eab.
Irene Wong is a federally funded Local Journalism Initiative reporter at the Economist & Sun