What is a Certified Arborist?

An arborist is someone who is trained in the science of planting, planning, caring for, and maintaining trees. They are knowledgeable and equipped in regards to how to provide proper tree care in various environments.

What is a Certified Arborist?A Certified Arborist is a designation received by individuals who pass a comprehensive examination regarding various aspects of trees and arboriculture, including identification, diagnosing, and proper care methods and techniques. To maintain their certification, an individual must also adhere to the Code of Ethics, maintain membership and continue their education. This means they are up to date in their arboriculture knowledge and current events.

There are three streams of Arborists in Ontario in either a provincially recognized stream or industry recognized.

Provincial Recognition

  • Previously under the Ministry of Colleges, Training and Universities, MTCU, there was an apprenticeship program for both the trade of Arborist and Utility Arborist which was enacted in 1982. This program was moved, with the creation of the College of Trades. Members under the MTCU, if they did not join the College of Trades continue to hold their certificates.
  • Under the Ontario Ministry of Labour, through the College of Trades apprenticeship program the voluntary trades of Arborist and Utility Arborists require both workplace training and 24 weeks of “in school courses” related to working with and in trees. This hands on approach helps to provide for competent and safe tree workers.

College of Trades


The graduate of the apprenticeship program who;

  • Completed up to approximately 6, 000 hours of on the job training,
  • Completes the Training Standards Book,
  • Successfully completed the 24 week course and passes the written exam achieves a Certificate of Apprenticeship as appropriate in the Trade of Arborist or Utility Arborist.  Those who do not write the final exam receive a Certificate of Qualification in their respected trades

The College of Trades can discipline any members who are not meeting the requirements of the Trade. Apprentices in good standing are listed on the College of trades site: http://www.collegeoftrades.ca/public-register-search

Industry Recognition


  • Certified Arborists are designated and regulated by the International Society of Arboriculture (ISA). The examination is developed by industry experts on tree care. If a person is certified, they will be listed in the ISA database.
  • They have been exposed to the knowledge and time spent working in the field to reach certification.
  • They have up to date credentials and knowledge about tree care, health, and forestry

Because it is required to maintain certification, continuing education credits (CEUs) allow the Arborists to maintain their certification and stay current through taking courses, attending industry relevant presentations and other opportunities as they arise.

Trust your tree health and care to the professionals when you work with either group of Arborists!

Contact P & A to Work with a Certified ArboristCertified Arborist

P & A Urban Forestry’s president, Peter Wynnyczuk, is a Utility Arborist under the MTCU, #400113535 and a ISA Certified Arborist (ON-2067A). In addition to over 38 years of experience, he has the knowledge to work with and protect the health of trees on your property to keep them healthy.

We can take care of all your tree assessment, consulting, and reporting needs. Contact us today!


ISAO Annual Conference 2017

Last week, we attended the ISAO Annual Conference 2017 in Niagara Falls. It was a pleasure to attend an annual event with so many others in the urban forestry industry. This conference was a great opportunity to share knowledge and expertise about a variety of issues affecting our forests and trees in Ontario.

ISAO Annual Conference 2017There were several streams for each participant to engage in for their particular interest.  There was an emphasis on Tree Evaluation, Bylaws, and new tools (such as ground based radar) that are being developed to help determine root location. When developed further, these tools can help guide the decision makers about where structures can be placed to minimize root damage. It was also fantastic to hear about the efforts of the Women in Trees Committee and how it is progressing.

Of other keen interest is the 10th edition of the Plant Appraisal Guide that is currently out for comment for the practitioners to help finalize this tool used for tree valuation. There were also some suggestions for lesser known species of trees that could be used for the landscape or when replacing trees.

Lastly, it was great to see Fleming and Humber College Students on Thursday who participated in the conference and had a chance to learn with the other participants.

Looking back over thirty five years of participating in this event and many other events associated with trees, it was so nice to see so many familiar faces, so many new faces, and the next generation of help in tree care and urban forestry.

Common Types of Tree Fungus Affecting Ontario

One of the most obvious afflictions that affects trees is fungus. We see various types of tree fungus likely every day. Some types of tree fungus don’t harm the tree and actual provide benefits, while other types of fungus can damage the tree and lead to diseases and death.

Knowing the different types of fungus can help you understand when your trees are at risk.

Types of Tree Fungus

There are three main types of fungus that affect trees:

  • Symbiotic / Mycorrhizal fungi
  • Saprophytic fungi
  • Parasitic fungi

Symbiotic / Mycorrhizal fungi

Types of tree fungus

This type of fungus lives in association with many plants’ and trees’ root systems. Both the fungi and the tree benefit from the exchange. The fungi has access to the trees’ carbohydrate stores, and the tree grows its ability to absorb water and minerals because of the highly absorbent mycelium. Symbiotic fungi basically expands the root system of the tree on which it lives, allowing both the tree and fungus to grow stronger.

Common types of this fungus are Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) and Porcelain fungus (Oudemansiella mucida).

Saprophytic fungi

Saprophytic fungi are commonly seen on dead or dying plants and trees, although they are not often the cause of the death or decline themselves. It lives on dead organic matter and takes advantage of dieback caused by a separate factor, like drought or disease. Their role in the forest ecosystem is important, like symbiotic fungi, but they are not positive to see on trees. Seeing saprophytic fungi on trees often means the tree is already sick, dying, or dead and can contribute further to their mechanical failure.

Common types of saprophytic fungi are King Alfred’s Cakes (Daldinia concentrica) and Many-zoned Polypore (Coriolus versicolor).

Parasitic fungi

Parasitic fungi, as their name suggests, are the most damaging to trees and plants. They live off of their host tree and directly result in the death of the tree or plant. Usually, these fungi target trees that are already stressed or unhealthy, and can worsen conditions to kill the trees. In times of spreading infestations and infections, parasitic fungi can be particularly damaging to trees.

Dutch elm disease in the 1970s was caused by a parasitic fungus, microscopic Ophiostoma novo-ulmi. Honey fungus is another common parasitic fungus.

Common Diseases Caused by Fungus

When a fungus begins to live on a tree, it can make it susceptible to more diseases as it begins to weaken the mechanical structure of the tree. A spore can germinate under certain environmental conditions that produce hyphae (fungal tissue) that enter and feed on the host.

Some common examples of this are:

  • Root and butt rot disease – These diseases infect and kill the roots of the tree, causing decay and resulting in total tree failure with very little notice or visible symptoms
  • Canker diseases – These diseases enter through wounds on the tree and infect the bark tissue
  • Foliar / shoot diseases – These are the most common diseases caused by fungus. You can see blotches on leaves and needles that can lead to the death of the leaf and in some cases, the death of the tree
  • Vascular wilts – When wilts invade the tree’s vascular system, it interrupts the transport of water and nutrients

Management Options for Fungus on Trees

Unfortunately, fungus cannot usually be cured once it is living on a tree. There are not many tree fungus treatments available. Prevention is the best method for keeping your trees healthy without any negative effects from certain types of fungus.

Planting your trees in the right place, keeping them watered and fertilized in times of drought, and keeping them healthy can help prevent fungus from finding an opportunity to live on your tree. Correct pruning methods can help eliminate certain canker diseases and reduce the risk of open wounds on your trees. Fungicides do exist to control certain diseases caused by fungus and inhibit the growth of fungi, but these must be applied preventatively – before an infection occurs.

There are dozens of types of tree fungi that affect trees in Southern Ontario. An arborist can diagnose the types of fungus on a tree and let you know how it will affect the tree in the long term. Because there are so many types of fungi, there are many management options for the trees on your property.

If you suspect your tree is infected with a fungus, contact P & A. We can give a diagnosis and help create a management plan for preventing the spread of the fungus and keeping your trees healthy.

Asian Longhorned Beetle in Ontario

The Asian longhorned beetle is an invasive species that was introduced to North America in the 1990s and made its way to Ontario by 2002. It is originally from China and Korea where it is also considered a pest which kills a variety of native trees.

The Asian longhorned beetle typically targets broadleaf hardwood trees, including Birch, Maple, Elm, Hackberry, Horse Chestnut, Mountain Ash, Poplar, Sycamore and Willow. There is currently no treatment or insecticide prevention for the beetle, and a widespread infestation could lead to a problematic decline in our native hardwood trees and biodiversity. If a tree becomes infested, it will die.

The last sighting of the Asian longhorned beetle in Ontario was in Mississauga, near Pearson Airport in 2013. Asian longhorned beetle control has been strictly regulated, and with the proper guidelines and rules in place, this invasive species will hopefully be contained and not cause irreparable damage to our trees.

Asian Longhorned Beetle IdentificationAsian longhorned beetle in Ontario

The Asian longhorned beetle is can be easy to identify because of its unique appearance. Adults are 2-4 centimetres in length and can be identified by their shiny body with white, irregular spots and bluish-white legs. It has long antennae, typically twice its body length.

These characteristics make it a very noticeable insect when it is visible.

Damaged Caused

Asian longhorned beetle damage is easy to spot. Eggs will hatch in the summer and fall, allowing the larvae to tunnel into the tree trunk and limbs. The small tunnels made by the larvae weaken the tree and are what cause the damage that ultimately leads to the tree’s death.

Asian longhorned beetle identification can also be done by looking at the damage on the tree. In mid-summer and early fall, you will see weeping sap on the trunk of the tree and holes all around the bark of the tree. These holes will be about the size of a dime – typically, very noticeable.

Asian Longhorned Beetle Control

Currently, there are no treatments or insecticide prevention methods for this invasive species. Asian longhorned beetle control relies completely on identifying infested trees and preventing the spread of the infestation.

As the Asian longhorned beetle in Ontario was most recently found in the Mississauga area, there is a regulatory area of approximately 20 square kilometres (Finch, Martin Grove, Highway 401, and Dixie) where the movement of wood chips, bark chips, lumber, wood, trees, nursery stock, logs, and any other raw wood products is restricted. This regulation is necessary to prevent any potentially infested wood from spreading outside this area.

Because there are no treatments for an infestation, the tree will die if infested. It must be cut down and burned to prevent the spread of the insect further.

If you believe you see the insect or that your tree could be infested, call the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources at 1-800-667-1940 or the Canadian Food Inspection Agency at 1-800-442-2342 to report it.
If you suspect your trees could be infested by the Asian Longhorned Beetle, contact P & A. We can help diagnose the infestation and inform you of the proper reporting methods to prevent the spread of the Asian longhorned beetle in Ontario.

Preventing Winter and Ice Storm Damage to Trees

Winter storms, particularly ice storms, have caused a lot of problems recently in Canada. A few years ago, we were hit with the polar vortex, causing massive power outages and damage. The ice storm in 1998 caused 6.2 billion dollars in damages, millions without power, injuries, and even deaths.

While the effect on humans is clear, ice storm damage to trees can also be severe and is often the cause of power outages and damage. Broken limbs and uprooted trees are common sights after a bad winter storm. Branch failure occurs when the loading from the weight of the ice exceeds the wood resistance, or when constant loading stresses a weakened area in the branch. Pair this with strong winds and branch failure is almost guaranteed.

Knowing the potential ice storm damage to trees, it is possible to prevent it. We can use the knowledge about the weaknesses and strengths of specific tree species to strategically plant and maintain trees with more resistance in our cities.

Ice storm damage to treesWhat Makes Trees Susceptible to Ice Storm Damage?

Apart from the power of the winter storm itself, there are a variety of factors that make a tree more susceptible to ice storm damage.

Weaknesses in the tree, present before a storm hits, make it less resistant to ice storm damage. Decay, dead branches, an increased surface area of lateral branches, restricted or unbalanced root systems, shallow root systems, weak branch junctures, and ingrown bark in branch junctures are just a few of the factors that weaken a tree before the storm even hits. Some of these factors occur naturally, such as species of oak trees having a naturally shallow root system, while some can be caused by human interaction, like a construction project damaging and weakening a tree’s root system.

Broad-leafed tree species with broad crowns are more susceptible to ice and snow damage. Species like Silver Maple, Weeping Willow, American Elm, Siberian Elm, Hackberry, Green Ash, White Birch and Honey Locust have broad crowns that are challenged when faced with excessive ice loads. On the other hand, trees with excurrent, or conical, branching patterns, strong branch attachments, and flexible branches are more resistant to ice storm damage to trees, as they are able to withstand higher weights and long storm durations.

Also important to consider is the positioning of trees. Edge trees, or trees that are located on the edge of a forest, are more at-risk than interior trees. They are less sheltered during a storm and bear the brunt of wind more so than interior trees.

Surprisingly, the source of the seeds used in tree planting is significant as well. A recent study found that seeds from trees from northern areas grew into trees that were more resistant to ice storm damage than seeds grown from trees from southern areas. Even when these seeds were grown in the exact same conditions, they had very different levels of resistance to winter weather.

Urban Forestry Management for Ice Storm Damage to Trees

There are many things that urban forestry management can do to prevent ice storm damage to trees and the consequential damage to buildings, roads, and infrastructure.

  • Have your trees assessed for any defects or structural issues and make appropriate decision(s)
  • Plant trees where they can do the least damage, away from power lines or large buildings, for example
  • Remove diseased or injured trees or ensure regular pruning to remove damaged areas
  • Remove damaged trees immediately after storms
  • Plant tree species that are more resistant to storms
  • Plant trees using seeds from northern seed-sourced trees

Species and Practical Examples

Knowing tree species that can resist ice and snow damage from severe winter storms is the first step in incorporating them into an urban forestry management plan and ensuring our trees and infrastructure is safe in future winter storms.

Different characteristics of tree species can make them either good or poor choices for planting in areas that receive heavy snow and ice. Jack pines and sugar maples have a higher chance of dying if they have severe canopy damage, but pitch pine and American beech species have a much better sprouting ability and can recover from severe branch loss. Bradford pear tree branches have ingrown bark in branch junctures, weakening them against heavy snow, while the Aristocrat cultivar of the pear species has stronger branch junctures and can withstand more weight.

Some other examples of trees resistant to ice storm damage to trees are Balsam fir, bur oak, Eastern hemlock, mountain ash, Ohio buckeye, and the Norway maple (some consider this an invasive species). More susceptible trees include the Silver maple, Siberian elm, American elm, black ash, butternut, common hackberry, red elm, and willow.

Knowing the tree species and various characteristics that affect how a tree can withstand ice, snow, and storm damage prepares us to create an urban forestry plan that will foster the growth of more resistant trees. This will help eliminate damage to infrastructure and property by trees after future storms.

To read the entire report and view a list of resistance vs susceptible tree species, visit the recent publication by the University of Nevada Lincoln, Trees and Ice Storms: The Development of Ice Storm–Resistant Urban Tree Populations (Second Edition).

If you’re concerned about ice storm damage to trees on your property this winter, contact P & A. We can assess storm damage and help you prepare your trees for upcoming storms.

Emerald Ash Borer in Ontario

The Emerald Ash Borer is an insect that was imported from Asia in the 1990s. It was first detected in Windsor, Ontario, in 2002. Since then, it has cost property owners and governments hundreds of millions of dollars in tree removal and treatment options.

As its name indicates, the emerald ash borer infests ash trees, killing them within three (3) to six (6) years after infestation. An ash tree infested with the emerald ash borer will start to die from the top down. Leaves will stop budding towards the top of the tree and bud less and less each year until the tree dies. The tree may sprout dense new growth on the trunk near the ground as the top declines. Once severely infested, there is no cure or treatment for the tree.

Although regulations were put in place to try and prevent the spread of the insect when it was discovered, because it has no natural enemies and a readily available habitat, it has spread throughout southern and central Ontario and into Quebec. In 2014, the Canadian Food Inspection Agency consolidated all EAB regulated areas within Ontario and Quebec into one area as presented here.

emerald ash borer in Ontario

Image by P. Wynnyczuk showing EAB tunneling under the bark.

Emerald Ash Borer Prevention

The emerald ash borer in Ontario has created a bleak future for our ash trees. The best emerald ash borer prevention is not to move firewood over long distances, particularly across provincial or municipal borders. This can help to contain the insect.

If you have ash trees on your property, they can also be treated with injections that make the tree immune to infestation. There are both chemical and natural injections available. For this emerald ash borer prevention method to work, trees must be injected before they are infested. Once the tree is exhibiting clear signs of infestation, the injections are much less likely to be effective as enough damage may have already be done.

Emerald Ash Borer Treatment

These injections are the best method for prevention and early treatment of an emerald ash borer infestation. Once a tree is infested and showing symptoms, there are no emerald ash borer treatments available. The ash tree will likely have to be removed before it dies and poses a risk to those on your property.

Is Your Ash Tree Dying?

If you’ve noticed your ash tree is not budding completely and missing leaves beginning at the top of the tree, you may have an emerald ash borer infestation. P & A can provide suggestions about the course of action to take if your ash trees are infested with emerald ash borer in Ontario.

Diseases: Anthracnose – Treatment, Identification, and Control

Anthracnose is a fungal disease that affects trees and plants all over North America, including here in Ontario. It thrives in moist conditions, particularly during the rainy months of spring or humid weather in the summer. It can survive on plant debris through the winter and resurface on plants in the spring. There are some anthracnose treatments and methods for prevention available.

Anthracnose typically affects ash, maple, and oak varieties of trees, although other deciduous and evergreen species can get infected. It can spread through contact with plant debris, wind, rain, insects, and even gardening tools. Typically, it is not fatal to trees but can be fatal to plants and other crops.

What Does Anthracnose Look Like?

Anthracnose treatmentAnthracnose generally prevents trees from budding as early as expected. The tree will likely not have leaves until late June or early July and will fall earlier than usually in the autumn.

Once the tree buds, the leaves will have dry brown and black lesions that begin to form on the edge of the leaves, but slowly will spread to the whole leaf. It can also kill the tips of twigs and in some cases, cause defoliation of the tree.

Anthracnose Treatment and Control

The best way to control and prevent anthracnose in trees is to rake up your leaves from your yard and put them out for yard waste in the autumn. This prevents the return of the disease to trees and new leaves in the following spring.

Removing plants that are infected with the disease will help prevent the spread to other plants. With trees, however, completely removal is not usually necessary or recommended. Pruning out the dead leaves and twigs as well as removing all leaf and plant debris from around the base of the tree.

While anthracnose is not usually fatal to trees, if there is a lot of twig and leaf damage, it can make the tree susceptible to other diseases or cause the tree to become further unhealthy.

If you believe your tree could be infected with anthracnose or another disease, call P & A for an assessment. We can discuss anthracnose treatment options and ways to keep the rest of your trees healthy.

Happy 2017 from P & A!

We just wanted to say a quick thank you to all of our clients, family, and friends for making 2016 another successful year for P & A! As a local, family-owned company, all of your support is greatly appreciated. We’ve grown as a tree assessment and report company more quickly this year Tree assessments, arborist reports, and more in 2017!than we could have imagined.

This year we participated in the Aurora Chamber Street Festival (a little farther north than we’re used to!) and met some amazing vendors and visitors. We also expanded our operations to some different fields and acquired more certifications to better serve our clients. While we were able to expand our clientele and meet so many new clients, we also had many familiar faces coming back to us for follow-ups and brand new projects.

Looking forward: tree assessment, arborist reports, and more!

In 2017, we’re looking forward to continue working closely with our existing clients and making some new connections as well. We will continue to maintain our qualifications and acquire new certifications to stay up to date on all the urban forestry industry news and practices.

We’ve also got some big projects coming up with our website and social media, so stay tuned for those!

We can’t wait to see what challenges and successes 2017 brings. Remember, for all your tree assessment needs, P & A can help. No project is too big. Thank you for your continued support!

The Best Places to See Fall Colours in Ontario

fall colours in Ontario

Autumn is well underway across Southern and Central Ontario. With the weather still (somewhat) warm, many people are looking for the best places to see fall colours in Ontario. Of course, anywhere with an urban canopy, forest, hiking trails, or public parks will be beautiful places to see the fall colours. If you’re up for a trip, we’ve got some suggestions of places to visit.

Ottawa – Ottawa is the perfect blend of urban foliage, manicured parks, and natural landscapes. It’s a great place to rent bicycles and ride around the many bike trails. You can also relax and take a boat ride down the Rideau Canal to enjoy the colours. It’s the perfect way to enjoy some fall weather and bright foliage.

Algonquin Park – Algonquin Park is a favourite for enjoying the changing leaves. Covering 7,725 square kilometers, there are plenty of amazing camping spots, rivers, and hiking trails to enjoy the colours. Maple, Red Oaks, and Aspens are just a few of the trees which produce vivid colours throughout the season.

High Park, Toronto – With dozens of activities and easily accessible in the city, High Park is one of the most convenient ways to enjoy some amazing fall colours. With grasses, Oak, Ash, and a variety of other tree species, High Park has vivid colours throughout the season. You can enjoy family-friendly activities as well, like the High Park Zoo and bird watching.

Muskoka – Most people think of Wasaga beach and tanning when they think of spending a season at Muskoka. However, Muskoka boasts a variety of outdoor activities, like hiking and golfing, as well as plenty of museums, spas, resorts, and restaurants. It’s the perfect place for a relaxing getaway – especially if you don’t particularly enjoy camping!

Haliburton Highlands – A few hours north of Toronto, the Haliburton Highlands boasts bright colours for the entire fall season. Enjoy hiking, canoeing, camping, or simply relaxing in the Haliburton Forest and Wildlife Center. Visit the Dorset Lookout Tower for an amazing 360 degree view of the forest.

Wherever you go this season, make sure to take photos and send them to us on Twitter! We’d love to see all the colours from the province.


CUFC 2016 in Laval, Quebec

At the end of September, our President Peter Wynnyczuk attended the Canadian Urban Forest Conference in Laval, QC on behalf of the Ontario Urban Forest Council. At the CUFC 2016, he gave a presentation about the Canadian Urban Forest Network, the Ontario region, and priorities in the urban forestry industry. He also discussed follow-up activities from the CUFN/OUFC Workshop in 2015 and how to approach these issues in the future.

It was wonderful to see so many familiar faces and to meet some enthusiastic and like-minded participants in the urban forestry field. We’re already looking forward to the next conference in Vancouver in 2018.

Check out some photos from the event!

CUFC 2016

Peter’s presentation on the Ontario Region activities that support the Canadian Urban Forest Strategy

CUFC 2016 Regional Representatives

The 5 Regional Representatives from across Canada and Mike Rosen President of Tree Canada, and Adrina Bardekjian. From the left to right: Larry Englund (British Columbia), Peter Wynnyczuk (Ontario), Pierre Jutras (Quebec), Mike Rosen (President of Tree Canada), Adrina Bardekjian (Tree Canada, Manager, Urban Forestry Programs and Research Development), Marhta Barwinsky (Prairie Provinces), Heather Fraser (Maritime Region).