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The Toronto Tree Thread

Northern Light

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I am glad you posted those articles. They've slipped my news feed.

Similar questions were asked earlier in the thread, but short of taking an axe to Norwegian Maples all across our ravine system, what can feasibly be done? They out-compete native species and their root systems erode the soil, so 'managing' them out of problem areas seems impractical.

And then there is the political aspect of it. We saw how Rosedale reacted when Toronto Parks and Forestry cut down a few trees in the ravine to allow for a pathway.
Can we manage Norway Maple (among other invasive species) out of existence in North America. The short answer is 'yes'.

But it will be expensive, time-consuming, labour-intensive and controversial.

It will also take 2 decades, minimum.

Is it worth trying to do? Yes.

BUT

There is no practical way to do it all at once.

The task far exceeds the public and private resources available.

To be truly effective, any plan must cross provincial and international boundaries as well.

We could achieve a great deal w/isolated choices.

But a comprehensive plan would be more effective, sooner, at lower cost.

(but still pricey)

I think a good portion of this could be the result of older areas that pioneers once opened-up to farming gradually reverting back to forests, for the reason that it wasn't an optimal farming location to begin with. Large swaths of the Land Between in Ontario was conceded for big farming, cleared, made so-so successful farms and farming communities. It only takes a few years for a field to become forest again, and this can be seen around much of cottage country.
Not a big factor. Definitely has happened in places; but you have to balance that against on-going destruction of farmland, and most of that, either way, is in the 905 locally.

In Toronto, any gains are the result of parkland reverting from mowed grass to forest, with the exception of a couple of small patches in the Rouge.


Larches/tamaracks are the worst. See people use them in landscaping and it makes little sense. Choose an evergreen coniferous, but one that's alo a deciduous losing its needles. Hm.

Birches and poplars perhaps could be good street trees, just in that the whitish colour of their bark could be a nice twist.
A couple of things here.

A Tamarack IS a Larch. Larch is the family, Tamarack is the species.

Tamaracks can be lovely, but as species that naturally grow near wetlands, they prefer their feet a bit wet (not under water); they are ill-suited to be street trees.

Birches/Poplars are not great choices for street trees in that they are very short-lived with an average life of only 25 years. Some do last longer, in ideal conditions, but Birch in particular is neither salt nor pollution tolerant.

They would have a very low survival rate close to curbs. They're fine as a backyard choice if you want one. But don't expect it to last 40 years.

Yeah...I knew things were becoming serious, didn't realize the Norway Invasion had the ramifications it does to the extent explained.

Author thinks intervention can 'save the day'. Do you? It has real resonance to the Global Warming debate, and whether we're 'past the point of no return'...
Intervention is not only possible, but essential.

The question isn't whether, but how much, where and when?

You can't as a practical matter clean-sweep the forest in 3 years or 5. There are not enough personnel to pull it off, in the private and public sectors. Moreover the aesthetic/optical effect would be awful in the near-term.

The answer is a concerted, multi-year (err decade) plan, that removes based on strategic value, replants in real-time, as much as is practical, and that the preceding done with an effort to educate the public on the value of the effort.

None of this will be cheap.

If you want a finished effort in 40 years......(and that is the time-scale we're talking about)......your looking at Toronto spending an extra 20M per year on removal and replanting (conservatively).

I should add at this juncture that Norway Maple is not the only problem species.

Phragmites is to wetlands what Norway Maples are to forests.

http://www.invadingspecies.com/invasive-phragmites/

There are many other problem species, though some are being tackled, albeit in ways that are not risk-free. I'll touch on that in a separate post.
 
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muller877

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Can we manage Norway Maple (among other invasive species) out of existence in North America. The short answer is 'yes'.

But it will be expensive, time-consuming, labour-intensive and controversial.

It will also take 2 decades, minimum.

Is it worth trying to do? Yes.

BUT

There is no practical way to do it all at once.

.
One way would be to encourage landowners to replace the trees. But instead when you want to change them to a native species you have to pay for a report, pay a deposit to the city and then wait months and months until they give you an approval. Not worth it!

Instead i'm waiting for mine to die and it becomes a $90 report vs an estimated $1200.

(I can't wait the 5-10 years to plant a real tree)
 

BurlOak

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One way would be to encourage landowners to replace the trees. But instead when you want to change them to a native species you have to pay for a report, pay a deposit to the city and then wait months and months until they give you an approval. Not worth it!

Instead i'm waiting for mine to die and it becomes a $90 report vs an estimated $1200.

(I can't wait the 5-10 years to plant a real tree)
If it's on your property, its your tree so just cut it out.
To play it safe, maybe wait until after a wind storm.
 

pman

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If it's on your property, its your tree so just cut it out.
To play it safe, maybe wait until after a wind storm.
Nope. In Toronto you’ll need a permit to cut down a tree of any size on your property, along with the commitment to plant a replacement or have the City plant one somewhere else. I had a Norway Maple removed last year, and I think the City’s vig was $400 or $500 ish. Of course you could take it down illegally, assuming you can find someone willing to do it without a permit. But if your neighbours turn you in you risk a substantial fine.
 

BurlOak

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Nope. In Toronto you’ll need a permit to cut down a tree of any size on your property, along with the commitment to plant a replacement or have the City plant one somewhere else. I had a Norway Maple removed last year, and I think the City’s vig was $400 or $500 ish. Of course you could take it down illegally, assuming you can find someone willing to do it without a permit. But if your neighbours turn you in you risk a substantial fine.
When you say "any" tree - do you mean >12" diameter.?

Instead of a tree doctor, I should start a "tree infector" company and carry around some various tree diseases and bugs to allow your trees to die "naturally" for you.
 

44 North

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The Rosedale situ was an issue based on other objectives. I think the result is a monstrosity, and I've been walking the Belt Line and up that hill and clearly remember the old pit and the tiny dinky toys in the bottom, it was so deep (the drugs may have amplified the effect, lol), and the only justification I can see for the evisceration of the hill is for mobility challenged access. To somehow sell it as an improvement over what was there is like praising what the DVP has done for the valley.

I'm a shade away from seventy, still have the muscles to cycle 100 km jaunts, but walking can be a challenge on the lower spine and hips.

And be damned if I'm going to zig-zag my way up or down that hill. I'll go straight up on the grass, thank you very much.

It's absurd watching the young and fit too timid to find their own way on that hill. Wheelchair, walkers and baby carriages, I get it. But to think that the whole hillside hasn't paid a price in the name of 'civility' and 'natural restoration' is to be in total denial.

What's in the old pit sure wasn't there originally. Sorry, denaturing is in the eye of the beholder.
That switchback sure is something else. I support it, generally and in that I think everyone should have access to the valley. But man is it big and lengthy. I think they'll add a side path for people that want to avoid it. Unfortunate that locals lost their tobogganing hill however. Also looks like no attempt at tree or shrub planting...seems like all grass.

I only recall Brickworks area post-fill in, but before the terraformed pond system (mid 90s). Going by old photos of the site from the 80s the pit became quite deeper than today so don't think your memory is off by much.

When you say "any" tree - do you mean >12" diameter.?

Instead of a tree doctor, I should start a "tree infector" company and carry around some various tree diseases and bugs to allow your trees to die "naturally" for you.
Jonny Appleseed meets Sandro Lisi.
 

Northern Light

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That switchback sure is something else. I support it, generally and in that I think everyone should have access to the valley. But man is it big and lengthy. I think they'll add a side path for people that want to avoid it. Unfortunate that locals lost their tobogganing hill however. Also looks like no attempt at tree or shrub planting...seems like all grass.
Planting of trees and shrubs on the switchback is underway. Its a large planting. Contractor should be done by the end of this week I think, if not, then early next.
 

Northern Light

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One way would be to encourage landowners to replace the trees. But instead when you want to change them to a native species you have to pay for a report, pay a deposit to the city and then wait months and months until they give you an approval. Not worth it!

Instead i'm waiting for mine to die and it becomes a $90 report vs an estimated $1200.

(I can't wait the 5-10 years to plant a real tree)
I completely agree that the City is off-point on how difficult it makes it for those wishing to convert to native trees.

Its an unfortunate move that has come in large part by removing the discretion that Parks staff used to have in approving removals.

Sigh.
 

pman

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When you say "any" tree - do you mean >12" diameter.?

Instead of a tree doctor, I should start a "tree infector" company and carry around some various tree diseases and bugs to allow your trees to die "naturally" for you.
Sorry, yes. The “any size” was a mistake.
 

rickvbiker

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I'm not sure who organizes it, but in my ravine park bordering community we have a springtime garlic mustard pull. Locals pull out the garlic mustard and put it into city provided garbage bags (apparently it shouldn't be composted). The city picks it up on the next garbage day from the park entrances.
Could that community mobilization be extended to Norway maples? I've been protecting an immature sassafras tree in the park by pulling out the small norway maples that pop up every year, threatening to choke it out. Would be nice if the city could empower citizens to undertake this sort of custodial activity for their parks and ravines
 

Northern Light

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Could that community mobilization be extended to Norway maples? I've been protecting an immature sassafras tree in the park by pulling out the small norway maples that pop up every year, threatening to choke it out. Would be nice if the city could empower citizens to undertake this sort of custodial activity for their parks and ravines
For practical purposes, the answer is 'no'.

At the level of removing seedlings, it could, in theory, be a 'yes'.

However, the City would be unlikely to trust the average person to recognize a Norway seedling from a Sugar, Red, Black, or Silver Maple.

The main issue, however is the number of mature Norway Maples. They perpetually drop seed, all while suppressing competition.

Removing those means cutting them down (which the City certainly would not abide a 'volunteer' doing; but more than that, if you don't want resprouting of the tree, the stump has to be treated with pesticide, the same day its cut.

That actually requires a license, and the area needs to clear of any one not wearing a mask. (using glyphosate, errr, Roundup, is not that dangerous as it is not really 'sprayed' like an aerosol, its 'painted' onto an exposed stump with an applicator; but they will err on the side of caution).

That said there are other plants which could be controlled by 'pulling' similar to garlic mustard. I would love to see the City consider some of them. Though the greater value is probably public education, as opposed to the stewadship itself, in as much as professionals would typically be more thorough, in a lot less time.

An invasive plant that could be considered for pulling would be 'Himilayan Balsalm

http://www.invadingspecies.com/himalayan-balsam/

Dog Strangling Vine or DSV is another bad one, but its very problematic to control manually, though, in shady areas, or with very small patches it can be done, either by digging the plant up, or running over it with a weed wacker when its really small and preventing it from ever forming and dropping seed ( you would likely have to cut in 4 or more times during a season to be effective) .

A biological control is planned for DSV; hopefully it will effective with no problematic side effects.

https://bcinvasives.ca/news-events/recent-highlights/xxx
 
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Neutrino

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Saw a liquid deicing truck just now. Is this new? What are the advantages over salt?
 

WislaHD

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Saw a liquid deicing truck just now. Is this new? What are the advantages over salt?
Depends on the liquid being used, but generally, it is more effective than road salt, as it has a freezing point around -30C compared to road salt, which has a freezing point of -19C. The liquid stuff is also way more costly and difficult to store than road salt, however.

If it is an organic option - like beet juice or cheese brine - then there are still impacts to the overall ecosystem. They still get into local waterbodies, and that sugar may encourage unnatural bacteria growth. It might not be salt, but it is an impact.

We really need to curb our road salt usage in Canada, but especially in Toronto. It is one of those things where once you stack up all the costs of impacts to the environment, to our road network, to bridges and built structures, to our cars, it just doesn't make any sense at all. "Using the Mackinac Center estimate, that’s [In Canada] $4.8 billion in damage per year — $1 billion more than the $3.6 billion damage caused by the Fort McMurray wildfire." [Link]

We are pretty terrible about it especially in Toronto. We use significantly more road salt than Montreal does, despite having milder winters.

And of course, going back to the topic of this thread, our habit is literally killing our street trees (and likely a whole lot more).
 

Northern Light

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Depends on the liquid being used, but generally, it is more effective than road salt, as it has a freezing point around -30C compared to road salt, which has a freezing point of -19C. The liquid stuff is also way more costly and difficult to store than road salt, however.

If it is an organic option - like beet juice or cheese brine - then there are still impacts to the overall ecosystem. They still get into local waterbodies, and that sugar may encourage unnatural bacteria growth. It might not be salt, but it is an impact.

We really need to curb our road salt usage in Canada, but especially in Toronto. It is one of those things where once you stack up all the costs of impacts to the environment, to our road network, to bridges and built structures, to our cars, it just doesn't make any sense at all. "Using the Mackinac Center estimate, that’s [In Canada] $4.8 billion in damage per year — $1 billion more than the $3.6 billion damage caused by the Fort McMurray wildfire." [Link]

We are pretty terrible about it especially in Toronto. We use significantly more road salt than Montreal does, despite having milder winters.

And of course, going back to the topic of this thread, our habit is literally killing our street trees (and likely a whole lot more).
Brilliantly stated! :D
 

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