As a result of the detection of the emerald ash borer in Gatineau, in 2012 the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) published a Ministerial Order applicable throughout Gatineau. It is now prohibited to transport firewood and ash products outside this regulated area. Failure to comply with these restrictions can result in a fine or legal action.
The emerald ash borer is an invasive exotic insect that attacks ash trees. Since it was detected in Michigan in 2002, it has decimated tens of millions ash trees in North America.
The small narrow elongated metallic green insect is between 7.5 and 15 mm long and 3 mm wide.
The adult beetles generally emerge in May, and infest the tree in which they were living or a nearby ash. Under normal circumstances, the emerald ash borer spreads slowly. However, transporting infested materials, such as recently cut ash wood or firewood from any type of tree, poses the greatest risk of spreading the insect to other regions.
The branches and leaves of ash trees grow directly across from each other. The leaves are 5 to 15 cm long, and are composed of 5 to 11 leaflets. The margins of these leaflets may be smooth or toothed. The bark has a disctinct pattern of hard ridges that criss-cross in a diamond shape (white ash and red ash), or soft cork-textured ridges that become scaly with age (black ash). Normally, ash trees grow to 15 or 20 metres in height and are of variable shapes.
Once an ash tree has been infested, the larvae feed under its bark by digging serpentine galleries that end up blocking the movement of water and nutrients in the tree.
Once a tree shows clear signs and symptoms, it has generally been infested for at least one year. The signs of infestation are as follows:
If you notice any such signs, please call 3-1-1.
Since 2009, Gatineau has set in place different measures to comply with the CFIA's Ministerial Order, in particular:
If you have to cut down or prune an ash tree located on your property because of the emerald ash borer, you will need a free authorization certificate from Ville de Gatineau. You can apply for one by calling 3-1-1.
Property owners are responsible for cutting down and maintaining ash trees on their property. When required, they are also responsible for replacing the trees.
If you have to cut down an ash tree, it is recommended that you transport it to the disposal site between October and December because the emerald ash borer will not spread to other trees while it is being moved. If you are unable to keep the wood on your property until that time, call 3-1-1.
For more information on protecting trees, consult the page Protecting trees.
Regulated products include ash nursery stock, trees, logs, lumber, packaging and palettes, bark, wood chips and bark chips from the Fraxinus species (commonly called ash). Firewood from trees of any species is also regulated.
These regulated products cannot be moved outside the regulated area, which includes all of Gatineau, as well as Ottawa, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville, and the United Counties of Prescott and Russell.
Failure to comply with these restrictions can result in a fine or legal action.
When it comes to disposal, ash wood is treated just like any other type of wood. Depending on the dimensions of the branches, they can either be included with compostables or household trash, or taken to the ecocentre or to the waste transfer station:
Just the same, it is strongly recommended that ash branches measuring more than 12 mm in diameter not be included with household trash, simply to avoid propagating the emerald ash borer. It is recommended that ash tree trunks, stumps and branches measuring more than 12 mm in diameter be taken to the ecocentre or to the waste transfer station.
For additional information about disposing of ash wood, call 3-1-1.