- Municipal Council
- Chronique du maire
Many of you have recently noticed orange crosses painted on many trees around the Town. Others have lamented the larger number of trees being cut down. It’s true: however reluctantly, the Town has no choice but to increase the schedule of cut-downs on public land. While 180 trees were removed in 2018, nearly 360 will be in 2019.
This problematic situation results from the fact that most of the trees lining our streets were planted in the 1950s and ’60s. One species in particular, the Norway maple, is overrepresented. Unfortunately, this non-native species is poorly adapted to urban conditions. With a life span of 60 to 70 years, many of our Norway maples are simultaneously reaching the end of their lives – sometimes in very dubious condition – and have to be replaced.
While cutting down a tree is never a joyful task, you can be sure we intend to replace the removed trees almost systematically. That Town of Mount Royal is considered a garden city is due, among other things, to its forest. We see the coming cut-downs not as a tragedy but as an opportunity to improve the robustness of the vegetation cover that has served us so well for so long.
Norway maples are no longer among the trees we choose for new plantings. For nearly 20 years now, we have favoured a healthy biodiversity by planting several unrelated species that stand up well to the stresses of urban life. These days, for street-side plantings, we choose red oaks, gingkoes, lindens, red maples and honey locusts, among other species. In parks, far away from de-icing salt and compacted soil, the Town focuses its choices on horse chestnuts, beeches, walnuts and hickories, for example, from among the eligible species.
It is often said that history tends to repeat itself. However, in arboriculture we are doing everything we can to prevent it from doing so. In the 1980s, the Dutch elm disease virtually wiped out the species in the Town. More recently, our ash trees have been attacked by the emerald ash borer, which we continue to fight. For prevention’s sake, it is now mandatory to vary the species planted and to strategically plan their distribution, knowing that these kinds of pests and diseases come in waves and usually affect one species at a time.
I want to assure you that the Town takes its trees very seriously. We are currently finalizing the 2019 budget and the line item for the urban forest has been revised upward. Everything is being done to ensure the long life of this asset that is one of the Town’s crowning glories.