Branching out: Involving all Canadians in Tree Check Month

Aug 02, 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.

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