Invasive species are invading Haliburton. This is causing property owners in the Haliburton and Minden areas a great deal of concern. Invasive species disrupt our local ecosystems causing a great deal of harm.
Most invasive species are introduced by human activities. That's why each of us has a part to play in preventing and controlling them. It is up to each and every one of us to be aware of invasive species and report them to the proper authorities when we see them around our Haliburton lakeside properties.
To report or to get advice on how to remove an invasive species, call 1-800-563-7711. Below I am going to describe and show pictures of some of the most common invasive species noted in the Haliburton Highlands area.
Part of the carrot family, this biennial or perennial plant flowers only once in its lifetime, and is reproduced by seed. It can grow to be 5.5 metres high with the flower head 1 metre wide. Its sheer size shades out native plants.
I have personally seen Giant Hogweed growing on the side of the road in the Blairhampton area between Haliburton and Minden. It looked like Queens Anne Lace on steroids. Absolutely massive! If you ever see Giant hogweed, DO NOT TOUCH IT.
The clear watery sap of Giant Hogweed contains toxins that can cause severe dermatitis. You can get severe burns if you get the sap on your skin and the skin is then exposed to sunlight. Symptoms occur within 48 hours and consist of painful blisters. Purplish scars may form that last for many years. Eye contact with the sap can cause temporary or permanent blindness.
Removal of the plant from property should be done by a professional. Call 1-800-563-7711.
Asian Longhorn Beetle
Although this beetle was declared eradicated from Ontario in April 2013, warning bells are going off in the Ontario Legislature. The beetle does exist in New York State and could be heading north to target all broad leafed trees, especially the maple.
Global warming could affect the general health of these trees and if attacked by beetles there would be serious repercussions for tourism, forestry and the maple syrup industry.
The Haliburton Highlands have maple syrup and maple wine industries that would be devastated if the Asian Longhorn Beetle damages our Maple forests.
Emerald Ash Borer
First identified in 2002 in South Western Ontario and eastern parts of Michigan, this beetle arrived through improperly treated wooden packaging from Asia and is on the move north. It is expected to spread throughout any area having ash trees creating widespread deforestation.
Meandering shallow tunnels under the bark with abrupt turns are evidence of infestation.
Severely attacked trees may exhibit crown dieback from the top down in the first year of infestation and the entire tree dies the following year. Foliage may wilt or turn yellow during the growing season. Increased woodpecker activity is also common.
Any wood from diseased trees should be disposed of onsite and not transported to other areas to prevent spreading the disease.
Zebra mussels filter water to the point where food sources are removed, altering food webs, creating clearer water and increasing aquatic vegetation. Fish are impacted by increasing toxic algae blooms potentially impacting the survival of fish eggs. Originating in the Black Sea, they are now in all the Great Lakes, Lake St. Clair and the Mississippi River.
The way to prevent getting Zebra Mussels in our Haliburton lakes is quite simple. When moving any water craft from one body of water to another, inspect the boat and trailer and remove any mud, animals and plants. Rinse with a pressure washer and hot water or let the boat dry in the sun for five days.
I witnessed the Zebra Mussel infestation in the Kawarthas. I watched as clear water became weed infested. Even the actual colour of the water itself changed. And never again can you swim without water shoes, as the mussels are as sharp as razor blades.
Protect our lakes in the Haliburton Highlands. Make sure all boats are thoroughly cleaned before launching.
Beech Bark Disease
Beech bark disease is a new threat affecting beech trees in Canada's hardwood and mixed forests. This disease is caused by a combination of a beech scale insect and a fungus. The disease begins with many scales feeding on beech tree sap while they form a covering of white wooly wax over their body. Once the scales have opened wounds in the bark, the fungus begins to colonize the bark, and sapwood of the tree. This stage of the disease produces cankers with tarry spots oozing from the bark and /or raised blisters and calluses on the outer bark covering much of the trunk. Mature trees are the target of this disease although some are immune. The impact on the environment is mainly a decrease in food for wildlife, especially bears. ? ?