08/22/2014 01:59 EDT | Updated 10/22/2014 05:59 EDT

Emerald ash borer claims Wellington Street trees

A once tree-lined street is now a stump-line street. 

City crews cut off nine ash trees halfway down the trunk on Wellington Street after discovering the trees were infected by emerald ash borer.

Emerald ash borer is an invasive bug that cuts off the water supply to the tree and eventually kills it.

According to the city, the emerald ash borer, an insect from Asia, has devastated ash trees in southern Ontario and parts of the United States since its discovery in Detroit in 2002. The emerald ash borer could affect approximately 860,000 ash trees in Toronto — 8.4 per cent of all trees in the city.

All infested trees must have affected parts removed before they dry out and collapse. More than 20,000 ash trees on city property have already been removed, and city staff say taking out all infected ash trees, coupled with the damage to other trees caused by last winter’s ice storm, have left a mark on the important urban canopy.

The loss of ash trees in Toronto would reduce overall forest cover in the city from 26.6 per cent to about 24.4 per cent, according to the city.