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Do you know how to determine whether your tree is affected by an invasive pest or disease? Here, a Davey Canada employee treats an ash tree at the Winfield Terrace Retirement Home.

Are Your Trees and Shrubs Safe from Invasive Diseases?

March 4, 2015

Davey employee Kyle McLoughlin discusses invasive disease-spreading pests at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Ontario.

Consulting Arborist Kyle McLoughlin, from Davey Resource Group in Ontario, has researched lethal pests for years. He has presented his findings on invasive and endangered species conservation at the Royal Botanical Gardens in Burlington, Ontario.

“I love ecology,” McLoughlin explains. “The research is so fascinating and keeps coming up at work. It’s great to have a career that relates to my passion.”

McLoughlin was invited to lecture at the Royal Botanical Gardens through his connections in the Hamilton Naturalists’ Club, a non-profit organization dedicated to the study, appreciation and conservation of wild plants and animals. He frequently leads interpretive hikes and has presented previous lectures through the organization.


McLoughlin’s lectures cover the following invasive species and more, as well as their impacts on the environment.          

  • Emerald Ash Borer (EAB).This is a green beetle killing thousands of ash trees in the U.S. and Canada. Look for D-shaped holes in the bark and S-shaped tunnels beneath the bark for signs of EAB. In many regions, the most effective time to treat an EAB infestation is in spring.  
  • Dogwood AnthracnoseThis is a serious disease of flowering and Pacific dogwood trees all over the U.S. and Canada, and it’s caused by anthracnose fungus. The symptoms for anthracnose include small black dots on bark and twigs and crinkling and browning leaves.
  • Butternut Canker. This is a lethal invasive fungal disease first reported to appear in the U.S. in Wisconsin in the 1960s. The fungus causes tree branches and stems to develop multiple cankers, knocking out a large percentage of the Butternut tree population.

In the future, McLoughlin plans to contact other divisions of the Naturalists’ Club, perhaps Toronto, to present his research and raise awareness about the hidden costs of invasive species, including the impacts on municipal forestry budgets, asset management, taxes, and the economy.

McLoughlin and 50 other Davey employees continued their education to learn more about infectious diseases and other tree-related topics at the Davey Institute of Tree Sciences (DITS) training course, which concluded last month. This four-week training program challenged participants with rigorous course and field work that covered several topics, from climbing techniques to insect pests and diseases.

Read more about the 2015 DITS experience on the Davey blog post, “Reflections on Davey’s Historic Tree Care Training Program.

If you see signs of invasive infestations, contact your local arborist for a free consultation.

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