ERCA hosts tree planting and environmental conservation workshop

Filed under: Headline,IN THE NEWS |

by Adam Gault
The Essex Region Conservation Authority (ERCA) hosted a tree planting and care workshop at the Essex County Civic Centre on the evening of Tuesday, January 30, to bring attention to tree planting methods, naturalization project grants, and the importance of overall reforestation efforts in Essex County.

“This is something that we do annually to inform landowners about general tree care, but it’s also to get the word out about the various programs we have available to them,” Rob Davies, an ERCA Forester, said. “We have seedlings and large stock available for purchase, but we also have grants available to do plantings throughout Essex County.”

ERCA’s 2018 Seedling Program offers between 75-90% of the total cost in potential grant funding for landowners looking for assistance in reforestation efforts on their property. The potential project must be at least one acre in size, and have 500 or more trees already located within ERCA’s watershed.

The workshop also provided an opportunity to inform members of the public about an invasive fungal disease, known as Oak Wilt, that threatens to endanger numerous trees within Windsor-Essex.

“It’s been found in Michigan and most recently Belle Isle. It probably is just a matter of time before it is found in Ontario,” Davies explained of the oak disease that’s generally spread via insects, such as Picnic Beetles. “It’s a very big threat to Essex County because a lot of oak trees [are] in our region.”

Davies explained there are several preventative measures property owners can take to combat the spread of the disease.

“Don’t move firewood, don’t prune your trees from the middle of April until the end of July, and if you have to prune your trees during that period, we’re suggesting that you use spray paint, or pruning paint, to cover up those wounds really quickly after doing any cuts,” Davies said. “(Picnic Beetles) like the sweet scent of a fresh injury on a tree, they’re attracted to that.”

Between Essex County’s lack of overall forest coverage and the looming threat of invasive species, Davies explained that it is more important than ever for Windsor-Essex to focus on reforestation efforts to ensure a greener ecosystem for generations to come.

“We want to improve the diversity and improve the natural habitat we have available in Essex County,” Davies said. “Just having such low forest cover, there’s not a lot of habitat out there, so we need to protect it.”

Those interested in taking part in ERCA’s tree planting and restoration programs can visit