Black Locust tree planted in cul-de-sac of Halliday Place (Cole Schisler photo)

Invasive Black Locust trees plague Ladysmith neighbourhood

Residents expressed concern that root systems can damage driveways and house foundations

Residents of Fourmeaux Crescent and Halliday Place made a case to Town council that invasive Black Locust trees in their neighbourhood need to be removed as soon as possible.

Black Locust trees are labelled a “tree killer” by treecanada.ca. The species is native to eastern North America, yet it is considered invasive in western Canada and other regions. Black Locuts have spread around the world for their value in ornamental use.

The root systems have caused structural damage to driveways in the Quails Gate neighbourhood. Black Locusts also produce high quantities of sap, which falls on vehicles. The dense foliage and fast growth can make a mess in yards.

“These trees are very invasive, fast growing, and propagated by seeds and root suckers. They can reach a height of 100 feet or more,” said Kelly Dunn, the delegate who spoke on behalf of Fourmeaux and Halliday residents. “There are documented problems on file with the town works department, as some trees have already been removed after it became apparent they were doing damage to driveways.”

Municipal bylaws allow trees to be trimmed 30 percent. According to Dunn, one resident trimmed their Black Locust to 30 percent, however the tree grew by 50 percent that year. Dunn expressed concern that the roots could creep around house foundations and retaining walls, or cause damage to underground infrastructure.

Town council expressed a desire to move as quickly as possible to remove the trees. There are no funds allotted in the Town’s budget for the removal, and costs could vary depending on the extent of root systems. Council directed staff to report back with an estimate of costs to be presented at the first council meeting of October.

“The concern I have is there’s always more to it than going and cutting trees down,” Mayor Aaron Stone said. “There’s a lot more involved, and a lot more costs involved, and it isn’t in the budget. That being said, I would agree that they need to be done.”

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