Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) is leaving more than dead and dying trees in its path of destruction. Attempting to cash in on the demand for tree work the invasive pest has caused, unqualified workers are adding the title of “arborist” to their resumes.
Since 2009, Ottawa has removed 15,00 dead or dying ash trees infested with EAB. The demand will continue to grow, since 30 percent of the city’s tree canopy is ash. The invasive species has killed millions of trees in the Eastern United States and is considered on of the most destructive forest insects ever. It has been detected in over 25 states and 2 Canadian provinces.
Unfortunately, as certified arborist Jamie Enright indicates, this is creating a new “wild west” of unskilled laborers and unsafe practices. Enright told CBC News in Ottowa that he sees a growing number of unskilled laborers taking up tree care jobs, which is an unrestricted trade in Ontario.
From handling chain saws on the ground and in the air, operating powerful equipment such as chipped and working in close proximity to utilities, tree care professionals require significant knowledge and training to perform at their highest levels. Arborists certified by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) are knowledgeable in all aspects of arboriculture.
Homeowners and towns who hire cheap labor from inexperienced workers are taking a risk that workers may injure themselves, passersby or personal property.