Taking Care of Trees:
Members of our Public Works team have specialized training in how to take care of trees. Originally, trees grew and thrived in forest environments, so when we plant trees on boulevards, and in parks, we want the ground around them to be as close to forest soil as possible. Here are some ways that you can help keep the boulevard trees near your property (and your own trees!) healthy and thriving:
Give the Roots Space: Leave a circle 2-3 times as wide as the trunk diameter as bare dirt or covered in wood chips to allow access to moisture, and less competition from grass and weeds for nutrients as the tree becomes established. Do not fill this area with landscape fabric or rocks! Rocks kill trees by damaging the root system, and blocking out all-important moisture and nutrients.
Show the Flare: The trunk flare, the part of the trunk that flares out where the roots begin, should be left exposed to increase tree stability, so do not pile dirt, rocks or wood chips up over the trunk flare. Covering the root flare results in tree rot, poor growth, and less stability—and could result in the tree coming down in a strong wind!
Protect the Bark: Bark is essential for carrying moisture and nutrients up into the canopy of the tree, and damaging it will cause great stress to the tree, or cause it to die. Don’t wrap decorative lights or ropes around the trunk of a tree. As the tree grows, these strands will slowly suffocate it. Also, avoid using a weed-trimmer immediately alongside a tree, as it will cut into the bark.
Public Tree Inventory:
In 2021, the Town of Altona had a public tree inventory completed. The interactive tree inventory contains information about the composition and condition of the 4500+ public trees in Altona.
Dutch Elm Disease:
Dutch Elm Disease (DED) kills elm trees. About 10% of Altona's trees today are elm. Since 2015, we've lost over 200 trees to Dutch Elm Disease. A fungus that blocks the tree’s vascular tissue causes DED — preventing it from taking up water and nutrients. Elm bark beetles are unwitting carriers of DED, as they carry the sticky fungal spores from tree to tree. DED can also spread underground if the roots of an infected tree have grafted with another tree. Altona is a participant in the provincial Dutch Elm Disease and Urban Forest Management Program, which means that we regularly prune dead branches from elm trees, do basal spraying of insecticide to elms to reduce elm bark beetle populations, and remove trees identified and marked by provincial inspectors each year.