Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Removing trees and all that rot

$500,000 earmarked for reforestation

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SCHUBERT chokecherry trees are a $500,000 problem for Winnipeg.

The city has designated $1 million to the urban forestry budget in 2014, up from $383,000 in the 2013 budget. About half of that money will be spent on the removal of diseased or dying chokecherry trees.

"When I got elected, I don't think I knew what the term Schubert chokecherry was," said Coun. Brian Mayes (St. Vital), chairman of the city's protection and community services committee.

But he is now familiar with the term after two years of comments and complaints from residents.

Schubert chokecherry trees are prone to a fungal disease called black knot. The disease is widespread across North America and causes black growths on tree branches.

Since 2007, the city has been removing select Schubert chokecherry trees with advanced stages of black knot, as budgets and resources permitted.

Mayes said he wasn't expecting any room in the 2014 budget to allow for the removal of the trees but is pleased to see the money set aside.

City forester Martha Barwinsky said the money translates into hundreds of black knot-affected trees being replaced across the city.

"It's in the areas we have identified as high priorities, where we have the highest rate of infection and the largest volume of Schubert chokecherry trees," Barwinsky said.

Those areas include Linden Woods, Richmond West, Dakota Crossing, Norberry, north St. Boniface, Rossmere, Pulberry and Riverbend.

During the 1980s and '90s, Schubert chokecherry trees were popular and planted in neighbourhood developments, parks and boulevards.

About 10,000 Schubert chokecherry trees will need to be removed. The trees will be replaced with a different species, while diseased trees are being chipped and taken to the Brady Road Landfill.

danielle.dasilva@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 4, 2013 B1

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