Branching out: Involving all Canadians in Tree Check Month
August 2, 2022 – Ottawa, ON – Canadian Food Inspection Agency
Throughout August, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) is asking Canadians to check for invasive pests in their own backyard in honour of Tree Check Month. Trees and plants are essential to maintaining Canada's clean air, natural spaces, parks, gardens, and a healthy economy. However, certain invasive insects, diseases, and other organisms threaten the health of Canadian trees and plant life.
Invasive species are most often introduced and spread throughout Canada via human activity, such as trade and the movement of firewood or outdoor equipment. For example, pests can hitch a ride unseen in firewood, dirt and outdoor equipment (vehicles, trailers, camping gear, etc.). Climate change can also contribute to the spread of invasive species by changing environments so pests can survive where they couldn't before.
We can all take action to be aware of threats and do our part to protect the trees that give us food, shade, clean air and water, wellbeing and so much more.
The CFIA's invasive pest cards and pest fact sheets make it easy and simple to know where to look and what look for – and most importantly, how to report pests of concern. Apps like iNaturalist are also excellent for helping to identify potential pests.
Check local parks, gardens and even backyards and vehicles for any unwelcome pests. Contact the CFIA if you suspect you have found an invasive plant, insect, disease, snail or other plant pest foreign to the area. This summer, remember to prevent the spread of pests, don't move firewood: buy and burn local or heat-treated (kiln-dried) firewood.
Citizen reporting is not only critical to help the CFIA identify pests before they spread, but checking trees is an important task that happens to also be a fun activity! The Plant Health Hero challenge is open to anyone in Canada and features activities for youth. Challenge your friends, family and neighbours to get outside, enjoy a walk and check their trees. Share your photos of kids checking trees on social media using #SeedlingScientist. Together we can protect Canada's green spaces.
"The health of trees and other plants is essential to the quality of our environment. Throughout the month of August, I invite Canadians of all ages to pay close attention to the green spaces around us and to the life they support. Being on the lookout for pests protects our forests, our agriculture and our food security."
– The Honourable Marie-Claude Bibeau, Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
"Examining the local trees and environment has a considerable impact on tree and plant health. The power of everyday citizen scientists should not be underestimated. The finding and reporting from even one person could be a big help to Canadian tree and plant health."
– David Bailey, Chief Plant Health Officer for Canada and Executive Director, Plant Health and Biosecurity, CFIA
The Canadian Food Inspection Agency dubbed August as Tree Check Month to mobilize community scientists and help keep Canada's trees healthy and free from invasive species and pests.
This tree check form from the Invasive Species Centre will help you know what to look for when checking trees.
Small actions can make a big difference. Help protect trees by:
- learning about and reporting unusual insects, invasive plants or plant diseases to the CFIA through inspection.canada.ca/pests or social media or via apps like iNaturalist
- monitoring trees for sudden or unusual changes: assess the entire tree, then focus on smaller areas like the roots, trunk, branches and leaves, noting any insect holds, bark cracks and tunnels under bark that has come off
- buying and burning only local or heat-treated firewood to reduce the spread of the emerald ash borer and other pests that hide in firewood
- checking trees, campers, equipment and items stored outside to remove insects and egg masses
- removing soil from footwear, gear and equipment before packing up so as not to move pests
- encouraging kids to be plant health heroes through fun and interactive youth activity booklets
- making sure that seeds, plants, plant products (whether decorative or for consumption) or organisms (for example, insects or snails) you bring into Canada or send to other countries meet the import requirements of the destination country – the CFIA can help, check with the CFIA first
- Report: Cultivating diversity: The expert panel on plant health risks in Canada (Council of Canadian Academies)
- Video: Get involved in Tree Check Month
- Plant health podcasts, videos and articles – Inspect and Protect
- Regulated insects
- Blog: What's in my firewood, and why should it matter?
Office of the Minister of Agriculture and Agri-Food
CFIA Media Relations
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