Updated – Management of QTN’s Tree Canopy and Forests – Q&A

Your community association and its network of volunteers have compiled this information piece to answer the most common questions on tree management in QTN. Click on any of the questions below to learn more.

Gypsy moth is an invasive forest insect that reaches periodic outbreak levels in Ontario. Throughout 2020 the caterpillar stage of this insect was observed to cause widespread defoliation of trees in many parts of southern and eastern Ontario. Through survey work completed by City of Ottawa Forestry Services, they anticipate this insect will cause noticeable defoliation of trees in some parts of Bay Ward in the summer of 2021. This will include but is not limited to, areas surrounding Frank Ryan Park.

City Forestry staff are aware and monitoring the situation with gypsy moth. City staff are in contact with experts and stakeholders across the province.

Defoliation does not typically harm the tree or cause mortality. In many cases trees can produce additional leaves later in a growing season to compensate for losses.

There are individual control options for residents to consider in order to reduce the impact of gypsy moth on their property – primarily physical removal of caterpillars and egg masses.

Questions about insects on City trees or specific questions about insect control can be directed to 311 (613-580-2400 or 311@Ottawa.ca).

For more information about the gypsy moth visit:
The City has identified dead or critically ill trees in Elmhurst Woods with a red mark. Although a tree may be marked at this time, it doesn’t necessarily mean it will be removed. The City is in the process of evaluating which trees need to be removed based on an evaluation of safety risks. For example, if there are no targets (i.e. the tree is not close to residences or trails) the tree might be left standing. The City is also looking at leaving snags where possible and leaving an appropriate amount of debris for forest nutrients and habitat. The timing for Elmhurst Park tree removals is tentatively set for this winter (likely January 2022), but will be confirmed and communicated through the Bay Ward Councillor’s office. They are planning to wait until the ground is frozen in order to minimize disturbance to the forest floor.
The City’s Forestry Department is staffed by nine trained Professional Foresters recognized by the Province of Ontario. Professional foresters work includes anything to do with the development, management, conservation and sustainability of forests, including urban forests, which requires postsecondary education and experience. They are responsible for planning, implementing and evaluating all activities related to forest management. They make decisions such as when, where and how to harvest and reforest areas. They also ensure the protection of forest values including fish, wildlife and water.

The complete definition of what a Professional Forester does is set out in the Professional Foresters Act, 2000: found here: http://www.e-laws.gov.on.ca/html/statutes/english/elaws_statutes_00p18_e.htm
The City has removed the trees in Frank Ryan Park and Elmhurst Woods in the fall of 2020 due to hazards observed this summer. Specifically, City foresters noted several ash trees in Elmhurst Woods with visible root flare weakness and increasing numbers of failures (falling trees). In the interest of public safety the City came in and removed the dead ash trees.

Emerald Ash Borer was identified as a significant concern in 2015 by the City foresters. Frank Ryan Park and Elmhurst Woods were woodlots with a large proportions of ash trees identified. In the winter of 2015, the City cleared a large number of ash trees from the wooded areas of these two features. The next spring, they planted 2,500 saplings from native species to replace the lost ash trees and increase species diversity. Subsequent monitoring in 2019 resulted in the planting of an additional 500 trees. For these reasons there may be a requirement to remove more trees in the future and for more plantings.
The City staff are aware of the wildlife components of the woodlots and they endeavour to leave beneficial trees when possible, including leaving the trunk of dead trees standing (these are known as ‘snags’), as long as it is a safe distance from walking paths or other features (e.g., fences, houses). Unfortunately, City arborists are generally not allowed to climb dead trees so would be unable to cut the tops of trees out for this purpose. This has limited the number of possibilities for leaving dead trunks to benefit wildlife as they can only do this for dead trees they can reach with a bucket truck and NOT damage other trees while doing so. The City is aware that the many trees left on the ground are unsightly, especially in Elmhurst Woods. Although it is not believed to impair the forest functions at this time, the City is actively looking at alternative ways to manage the cuts in the forests so that it provide for a more naturally looking habitat.
Yes, as an example, in the spring of 2015, 2,500 saplings from native species were planted in Elmhurst and Frank Ryan Woods to replace the lost ash trees and increase species diversity. Subsequent monitoring in 2019 resulted in the planting of an additional 500 trees. A request made by the QTN association to have more trees added to Frank Ryan forest in the 2022 calendar year is currently under review by the City.
The planted trees are monitored three times over a 5-7 year period using sample plots. Sample plots allow the foresters to determine the relative health of all planted trees by looking at smaller representative samples of trees. The goal for the tree plantings and for Frank Ryan Park and Elmhurst Woods is to create a safe and more diverse forest so that these areas can continue to contribute positively to the community and all the other benefits that urban woodlots provide.
The QTN association has requested that notifications for work to be taken place in our forest be provided by the City. At this time, we expect that such notification would be funneled through the Bay Ward Councillor’s office. You can sign up to receive weekly news update from the Councillor’s office here: https://www.baywardbulletin.ca/
The City of Ottawa states:
“Compensation for privately owned trees will vary depending on the circumstances of the removal. In non-development scenarios, replacement of the tree at a 1:1 ratio will be required. For infill development, tree replacement is required at a 2:1 ratio for distinctive trees 30 to 49 cm in diameter and at a 3:1 ratio for distinctive trees 50 cm or greater in diameter. Financial compensation may be accepted if some of the required compensation trees cannot be accommodated on the site. Developments proceeding under the Planning Act will be required to provide suitable numbers of new or replacement trees through the required Landscape Plan.”

Tree compensation requirements are provided in Schedule B of the Tree Protection (By-law No. 2020-340) which came into effect on January 1st, 2021 and found here: https://ottawa.ca/en/living-ottawa/laws-licences-and-permits/laws/law-z/tree-protection-law-no-2020-340#schedule-b-tree-compensation-requirements
The City of Ottawa has a variety of existing tree planting programs that can be found on their website, including suggestions for parks and streetscape plantings, commemorative tree planting, and schoolyard tree planting.

Details found here: https://ottawa.ca/en/living-ottawa/environment-conservation-and-climate/trees-and-urban-forests/tree-planting

4 thoughts on “Updated – Management of QTN’s Tree Canopy and Forests – Q&A

  1. Guy Poirier says:

    why is the spring in Elmhurst Woods just off Henley Street not taken care of with a clear, small channel going to the curb side drain?


    • QTNca says:

      That’s a great question and one we’ve put to the city more than once – on top of the feedback from neighbours. It is expected to be addressed as part of next summer’s sewer rehabilitation project. At the moment we have also flagged this section of road to the city for additional winter maintenance (scraping) due to the ice buildup from the creek spilling over onto the road.

  2. Trevor says:

    Great information thanks for posting this! My pet peeve is being referred to as “tree climbers” and not arborists though. We are highly trained and skilled professionals. Regarding the wildlife snags it’s not that we’re not allowed to climb dead trees but it’s considered a last resort. Its not typically worth the risk.

    • QTNca says:

      We appreciate the insight and your feedback; we’ve updated the post to note arborists instead of tree climbers! Thank you for sharing

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