In December 2021, an invasive fungus famous for decimating oak trees was half a kilometer from the Canadian border.
Last month, the withered oak tree crossed the border and was spotted in Niagara Falls.
It was the first and only sighting from Canada at the time, but not anymore.
The tree disease has been detected in Springwater, Ontario, north of Toronto, and has been reported at least three times in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, according to the federal government.
“To help prevent the spread of these detections, movement restrictions are in place at affected properties. We are working with other federal, provincial and municipal governments to survey the areas and determine next steps,” says one federal government. Web page.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency is telling people in Niagara-on-the-Lake to check oak trees for signs of the disease.
What is oak wilt?
The federal government website says that a fungus called Bretziella fagacearum causes oak wilt.
He says that red oaks are especially vulnerable and can die in a single season.
“Oak wilt is transmitted naturally through root grafts or beetles that carry fungal spores. Oak wilt does not affect human or animal health,” the website reads.
Richard Wilson, a retired pathologist with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources’ forestry program, previously told CBC that Hamilton oak wilt is similar to Dutch elm disease, beech bark disease and gallbladder rust. white pine, all of which have caused “widespread damage.
Lauren Bell, program manager at the Invasive Species Center in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, previously said that some signs of oak wilt include:
- A white, gray or black fungal mat under the mat.
- Cracking along the bark of the oak, which is an indicator of matting.
- A sweet and fruity smell, similar to Juicy Fruit gum.
- Leaf drop or wilting and browning of leaf edges, beginning at the top of the tree.
How other cities are preparing
Cities near Niagara, like Hamilton, are bracing for the impact of oak wilt.
Lauren Vastano, a spokeswoman for the city, said Hamilton’s strategy is being developed based on a federal response framework.
“This management strategy will also build on the lessons learned by city staff in executing the Emerald Ash Borer response plan,” Vastano said.
“Forest staff and arborists have received training in identifying oak wilt and many environmental service staff are also receiving training in identifying oak wilt from the forest health project manager.
What to do to stop oak wilt and how to report it
The federal government says that people should not prune oak trees between April and November.
They shouldn’t move firewood either.
If anyone sees oak wilt, they should contact the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. online.