Tuesday, June 19, 2012


The Waterloo Region Record has carried two stories recently concerning major problems with the health of trees in Kitchener. The most recent article was yesterday and is titled "Suburbs' trees fail to thrive". The other recent article is titled "Kitchener may spend big money to defend ash trees from bugs".

The head forester for Kitchener is advising a plan that will cost $7.5 million over the next ten years to protect ash trees from the Emerald Ash Borer. This invasive species is from China and if it is an imminent threat in Kitchener you can count on these insects being throughout the area including Woolwich. Apparently there are chemical injections which if repeated every two years will kill off the insects. The total cost includes cutting down infected trees and hauling away the wood.

The other article dealing with newly planted trees on boulevards in new subdivisions is unsettling. Apparently certain developers or others have a bad tendency to cheap out when it comes to leaving topsoil in place on lawns and boulevards. I guess the theory is out of sight, out of mind. Unfortunately when you plant either trees or grass on poor soil or rocky ground you set yourself up for failure. This article while focusing on the newer subdivisions near Ottawa and Fisher Hallman applies to many subdivisions built in Kitchener over the last thirty years. The problem of poor soil is combined with heavy machinery compacting the soil prior to construction of homes. This compacted soil, with little or no topsoil present, results in half the trees dying within a few years. Here in Woolwich Township I can advise of a similar problem in the Bristow Creek subdivision. My home is over ten years old and although the trees are surviving some are clearly very stressed. Furthermore I have been astounded at how well the grass grows in my backyard and how horrible it grows in the front yard. From experience removing dandelions and all other imaginable weeds from my front yard I can advise you that the topsoil is all of a couple of inches thick. Below that, when I use a knife or screwdriver to dig out weeds, I'm hitting nothing but sand and stones. Clearly prior to laying down sod, the developer or a contractor "stole" the topsoil for use elsewhere. I repeat I've got a good amount of topsoil in the backyard and essentially nothing in the front. Human nature and a lack of enforcement of rules inevitably lead to these results.

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