October 15, 2019
Tony DiGiovanniIn August of 2018 a nature enthusiast named Karen Yukitch discovered an unfamiliar moth in her pollinator garden in Etobicoke, Ont. She photographed the moth and posted it online. She also sent images to her friend, Dave Beadle, co-author of The Peterson Field Guide to the Moths of Northeastern North America. After some research, it turned out that Karen had spotted the first North American sighting of box tree moth (Cydalima perspectalis). Originally from Asia, no one knows how this insect found its way to the Toronto area.

Box tree moth is already causing severe damage to boxwood plants in Europe. Its sighting here has alarmed our Landscape Ontario nursery growers because boxwood is a major crop with huge domestic and export value. The U.S. and other provinces may place restrictions on our export of boxwood.

This spring, a coordinated effort by LO, the Canadian Nursery Landscape Association (CNLA), Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA), and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), implemented an awareness and control program aimed at minimizing the spread of box tree moth. An industry task force was created, chaired by Bart Brusse from Sheridan Nurseries and Tom Intven from Canadale Nurseries. We raised over $35,000 from growers, (which Landscape Ontario then matched), and proceeded with scouts who went door-to-door, offering a free monitoring and spray program to homeowners. So far, we have sprayed over 350 home gardens with Dipel. The program has met with some success, however, the infestation is larger than originally thought. We can no longer offer the spray program for free.

Now, we need your help. If you own a landscape, lawn care or tree care company that services the Etobicoke and North York areas, please scout for box tree moth and encourage your employees and customers to be on the lookout for it as well. A webinar, pest ID card and other resources are available online at LandscapeOntario.com/box-tree-moth.

If you are not licensed to spray Dipel, we can provide you a list of licensed applicators. Help us to control this serious pest.

From an export perspective, here is a quick update from Jamie Aalbers, CNLA Grower Manager:
  • Although no formal import restrictions have been announced, signs are becoming stronger that the USDA will identify the entire province as an infested area.
  • CFIA science staff are reviewing research shared by the U.S. on other hosts which include: Euonymus alatus, Euonymus japonicus, Ilex purpurea, Ligustrum sinense and Murraya paniculata.
  • In preparation for a worst case scenario, CNLA has begun the process to develop a Box Tree Moth module within Clean Plants.
  • CFIA has suggested that in other export crops, they have a model where third party auditors, like Clean Plants, do all of the field work and approvals for systems based programs and CFIA simply audits these auditors. This is no precedence for this in nursery export, as the current Clean Plants program is just for domestic certification. CFIA and CNLA are discussing the development of a pilot program with the box tree moth module to test this in nursery export.
  • Smaller larvae are overwintering by webbing themselves between leaves. Moths are no longer being found in traps.
  • No moths have been reported in traps outside of the Toronto area.
  • It looks like larvae start to overwinter based on day length, not temperature.

Snowposium 2019 a success

The first major event, Snowposium 2019, was held at the new LO facility on Sept. 26. Over 275 people attended an informative schedule of events which included relevant and engaging speakers, and a focused trade show. We were also happy to welcome our friends from the Snow and Ice Management Association (SIMA) to the event.

Snowposium was dedicated to the memory of founder, Bob Wilton. Bob also founded Clintar — one of North America’s most successful landscape maintenance companies. It was fitting that the chair of Snowposium, Terry Nicholson, is vice president of Clintar.
By far, the most serious issue affecting the snow and ice sector is liability caused by slip and fall claims. Many contractors are having difficulty obtaining insurance and if they do, are forced to pay exorbitant prices. LO is dealing with this issue in four main ways.
  1. We are supporting a Private Members’ Bill from Muskoka MPP, Norm Miller to reduce the Statute of Limitations from two years to 10 days. This matches the limitations currently in force on public property. Please visit your local MPP and ask him/her to support this bill.
  2. We are encouraging the provincial government to adopt legislation currently in force in New Hampshire that limits liability for those that follow verified practices.
  3. We are investigating self-insurance models.
  4. We continue to promote risk management practices that elevate the profession and creates a culture of safety. We recently published the Snow and Ice Operations Risk Management Guidelines. Please see gfl.me/h4r6.
Snowposium was the first event coordinated by LO’s Keri MacIvor. Keri did a magnificent job and was well-supported by an amazing team at LO.
Tony DiGiovanni CHT
LO Executive Director