Every year there is more death caused by an insect that has made its way to Saskatoon as it travels west through the country. The cottony ash psyllid has devastated the city with 7,000 ash trees counted last year as having the pest and 1,000 on the list to be cut down this year, as was approved in the annual budget.
However, Director of Parks, Darrin Crilly, says since then another 2,000 to 3,000 trees have died.
They are receiving about 50 inquiries a week about these trees and wondering if they can be removed in the next few weeks. Crilly says other than the first 1,000, the other trees will have to wait. However, they are working on options, like possibly if a property owner has these dead trees on adjacent city land and is willing to pay, they could work up a list of pre-approved contractors to do the job.
The symptoms of the cottony ash psyllid, which affects Black Ash, Manchurian, and Northern Treasure ash, are gnarled, curled or deformed leaflets and a cottony substance on the leaves.
In the meantime, Crilly cautions that another devastating pest has been confirmed in Winnipeg – the emerald ash bore, which could make its way to Saskatoon in the next few years, and not to forget dutch elm disease which continues to be a challenge in the city.