An invasive insect outbreak that killed over 5000 black ash trees in Edmonton in 2000 has now made its way to Grande Prairie. Cottony psyllid is part of the jumping plant louse family. They make their home on different types of ash trees but they do not affect green ash, white ash or mountain ash.
Cottony psyllid was first noticed in 2015 as it spread across the city. The following year a ban on planting the black ash, Manchurian ash and hybrids of these trees was put in place. A campaign was also started in 2016 to inject public trees to help control the invasive species population.
The city is asking residents to check their black ash trees for the insect. If their tree is infected, they will notice leaves that are curling and ruffling. Baby insects will be noticeable in the form of white fluff when the leaves are unrolled.
To prevent the spread, owners are asked to do a routine once a month from June to August which includes leaving a garden hose to trickle near the ends of the branches. Owners would then move the hose once an hour to saturate the roots of the trees. Fertilizing the lawn around the tree can help with nutrients.
Cottony psyllid is also known as Psyllopsis discrepans. It originates from Europe.