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Tree Banding

Changes to Our Tree Banding Campaign

Thank you to our tree banding supporters! Your participation really has made a difference in our urban forest. Thanks to your efforts, cankerworm populations have been under control for the last 7 years and are expected to be very low in the immediate future.

We will not be continuing our tree banding service or have bulk supplies for sale in 2015. We expect to sell bulk supplies when cankerworm populations increase again. A number of factors have recently led Trees Winnipeg to make significant changes to the program, including the end of the private door-to-door banding service:

A very successful program

Since the mid 1990’s, Block Captain volunteers and neighbours have worked hard at organizing tree banding in their communities to protect our urban forest from cankerworm infestations. As a result of this city-wide effort, The City of Winnipeg reports that cankerworm populations have been consistently low over the last several years and Trees Winnipeg feels that the urgency for city-wide tree banding is reduced for the immediate future.

Tree bands are ineffective against other defoliating pests

As a result of the city-wide banding effort, cankerworm populations have been consistently low in many Winnipeg neighbourhoods since 2009. While cankerworm populations have been low, however, other defoliating caterpillars have been increasing in number. Forest tent caterpillar and elm spanworm have become a greater nuisance in recent years, and can cause significant damage when populations are large. Unfortunately, tree bands are ineffective against forest tent caterpillar and elm spanworm because the female moths have wings and can simply fly over the bands to lay eggs.

An effective spray program

In addition to the Tree Banding Program, the City of Winnipeg has employed a highly effective spray program to keep cankerworm populations in check in areas where populations are high. The pesticide used by the City is called BTK, derived from soil bacteria called Bacillus thuringiensis. The product is considered to be safe for people, pets and wildlife as it only affects caterpillars and it degrades quickly once applied. While the City of Winnipeg coordinates its spray program to combat the rising populations of forest tent caterpillar and elm spanworm in the future, it will also keep cankerworm populations in check at the same time.

Supply interruptions

In spring 2015, the company that produces Tree Tanglefoot™ was sold and the product is currently in short supply. Having a relatively small inventory of the product, and with the need for city-wide banding greatly reduced, Trees Winnipeg decided to conclude the door-to-door banding service, and concentrate its current supplies on specific locations most at risk of cankerworm defoliation in 2015.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

  1. Cankerworms are still a problem on my property, who can I contact?
    Contact Trees Winnipeg at (204) 832-7188 or office@treeswinnipeg.org for a list of local companies currently offering door-to-door tree banding services and/or supplies. When cankerworm populations increase, Trees Winnipeg intends to continue selling bulk banding supplies. Alternatively, if you have unusually high levels of cankerworm larvae on your trees, the biological pesticide BTK (a naturally occurring insect bacteria) is extremely effective for controlling cankerworms and all defoliating caterpillars during their feeding period.

  2. How does BTK kill defoliating caterpillars?
    The bacteria in the product affects the caterpillar’s digestive system and causes an infection that causes the caterpillar to die. Therefore, the product must be sprayed while the caterpillars are eating to achieve the desired result.

  3. Is BTK safe to use?
    The spray product is derived from the bacteria Bacillus thuringiensis which is naturally found in decaying matter in soil. Since its first use in 1958, it has not been found to have any adverse effects on people, pets or wildlife, and birds/animals are not affected by eating infected caterpillars. Sunlight and other microbes cause BTK to degrade quickly (usually within 5 days) so it does not accumulate in the environment. As with all pesticides, follow all recommended handling instructions on the package.

  4. How do I get my trees sprayed with BTK in spring?
    A licensed Manitoba Arborist can arrange for spraying. We recommend calling early in spring as the spray window is very short. Services and fees vary; for help finding an arborist contact Trees Winnipeg or find tips and our checklist at www.savetheelms.mb.ca/treeCare/findanarborist.php

  5. What else can I do to help protect my trees?
    Regular watering during dry spells and careful pruning can make your tree less attractive to insect pests. Have a tree health question? Ask us! Trees Winnipeg staff and volunteers are urban forest professionals!

  6. How can I help protect my elms from Dutch elm disease (DED)?
    Experience indicates that tree banding does not protect against DED. Unfortunately, there is no single tool or treatment for preventing DED. Professional pruning of deadwood (which attracts the beetles that carry DED), safe removal of elm firewood, and quick removal of nearby infected trees can help make your tree less susceptible and reduce the incidence of DED in your area. Early detection of infected trees helps prevent the spread to trees nearby. To have City of Winnipeg staff assess or remove an infected tree in your community, please call 311.

  7. I have a credit for tree banding with Trees Winnipeg, will I get a refund for 2015?
    Certainly. In September, Trees Winnipeg will be contacting those clients with credits on their account – we can issue a refund by cheque or you can choose to leave the credit as a charitable donation, for which we will send you an official donation receipt for tax purposes.

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