Emerald ash borer: Turning diseased trees into works of art

Emerald Ash Borer: Turning Diseased Trees Into Works of Art

UPGRADE DAY

Forced to remove dozens of trees from its public spaces affected by the emerald ash borer, the municipality of L'Épiphanie, in Lanaudière, has chosen to keep the trunks of a few between them to make works of art. 

Five artists got to work a few weeks ago to transform the 12 trunks of ash trees spared last year into sculptures. during the preventive cutting carried out in a park in the city center of the place.

The preserved trunks, which are all 10 feet high , are located at each of the six park entrances.

“We wanted to enhance these trees in the best way possible and we had the idea of ​​making works of art out of them,” explained Steve Plante, the mayor of the municipality, whom we met at Donald-Bricault Park, operation site. We had a lot of diseased ash trees in the parks and green spaces at L’Épiphanie.”

Remember that the emerald ash borer is an insect that goes from one ash tree to another, which makes holes in the bark, attacks the channels that carry the sap to the branches and leaves, which causes the deterioration of the 'tree.

Lifespan

Pierre Turgeon, sculptor and owner of a sculpture workshop in Rawdon, also in Lanaudière, supervised the project . He told us that these sculptures can have a lifespan of 10 and 15 years.

He specifies that the secret is in the incision made at the base of the trunk, which consists of cutting the sapwood , where the water circulates in the tree.

“By cutting this, I disconnect the roots from the trunk so that the water stops going up the tree,” explained Mr. Turgeon, who also made a sculpture in this project.

“ If I don't do this, the water will continue to rise in the tree and it will ferment in the summer with the sun, he added. The mold would therefore set in and the tree would be rotten in five years.”

Each sculpture required around twenty hours of work.

The sculptors worked on the using sharp chainsaws and specialized blades. Their works, when finished, were coated with five coats of a finishing stain. Two more coats will be needed in the spring.

“These are trees that won the lottery,” said Mr. Turgeon, laughing. I think it's really unique in Quebec to have 12 sculptures in the same park, done in the same week.”

The other sculptors involved in the project are Marc Lepire, Julien Doré, Jean- François Gauthier and Marie-Line Gagné.