When the town of Ladysmith planted some developer-provided trees on his street nearly 15 years ago Chris Fritsch was impressed.
He had no idea what he was in for.
“No, they were just a nice looking tree and the saplings looked fine,” said Fritsch.
“I thought that’s nice they’re all uniform and then they started growing up.”
It wasn’t long before the rapidly growing trees started causing problems.
Turns out the Black Locust Tree, while one of the most commonly planted trees in North America, is invasive.
“They grow to a huge size. The root system is extensive and tends to disturb the roads and infrastructure and sidewalks,” said Fritsch.
He says the invasive trees also reproduce rapidly, with new saplings sprouting from their roots and they’re messy, dropping many seed pods, leaves and twigs.
“They also leak sap continuously so if you park your vehicle under them a couple of days later they’re covered with a thick layer of goo. They’re also poisonous, toxic to humans,” said Fritsch.
The town removed the black locust in front of Jim Horn’s house before he moved into it but the roots continued to grow and cause problems.
“It has raised our driveway and it’s also sent a root towards our front door and cracked our front sidewalk up there,” said Horn.
This past week neighbours asked the town council to have the trees, numbering near 20, removed.
Council asked staff to prepare a report on cutting them down.
“And they’ll provide costings and timelines to get the problem dealt with,” said Aaron Stone, Ladysmith’s Mayor. “Whenever issues like this come up in a community it’s always better to prioritize taking action and mitigate any further costs and frustration for the neighbourhoods.”
Fritsch says he just hope the trees are removed soon before they cause any more problems on the street.
A 2016 report outlined how best to deal with the Black Locust tree in Ontario.