Ax aimed at ‘nuisance’ linden tree

It has been many years since the Township ceased planting linden trees on residential streets.

It has been many years since the Township ceased planting linden trees on residential streets.

There is nothing wrong with the tree itself, but aphids that are attracted to it secrete a sap called honeydew which can cover sidewalks and turn them black. They also cover vehicles parked on driveways and the roadside.

That’s the case of the linden tree outside Richard Frost’s house in the 3200-block of 264A St.

On Monday, Frost told council he’s had enough. He wants the tree down and replaced with a different specimen, at the Township’s expense.

Under the Township’s nuisance tree bylaw, a property owner would be required to pay half the cost of removal and replacement.

Frost said that he doesn’t want to pay his share, which he said would be $1,000.

In fact, said Al Neufeld, the Township’s manager of parks design and development, Frost’s share would be $500.

The sap problem is growing worse and worse, he told council. He acknowledged that the Township’s spraying has reduced the population of aphids, but hasn’t cleared it up altogether.

He noted that the nuisance is worse during the summer, when water restrictions prevent him from washing the honeydew off his family’s vehicles.

Frost, who first noticed the problem about seven years ago, said it would have been cheaper for the Township to chop down the tree and replace it, than to continually spray it.

Neufeld said later that the Township has spent $250 on spraying the tree. This year, using new technology, parks workers injected a pesticide into the tree. It did make an improvement, he said.

At its meeting on Nov. 5, council will vote on Councillor Kim Richter’s motion that the tree be removed and replaced at taxpayer’s expense.

The motion also calls for the municipality to stop planting linden trees.

The tree is already off the Township’s list of approved trees for residential areas, Neufeld said.