Proposed ordinance limits use of insecticide in Fairfield

The Fairfield City Council is considering an ordinance that would limit residents from spraying their trees with insecticide.

Consideration of the ordinance began when it was found that the city's tree ordinance was severely outdated. For example, the ordinance still suggests ash as a recommended species to plant in the area. However, with the emerald ash borer spreading across the state, that is no longer the case.

Insecticide kills insects like EAB, but it also has a negative effect on the environment, often killing surrounding wildlife.

Under this new ordinance, residents would be prevented from liquid drenching or granular treatment with insecticides. They would still be allowed injection treatment.

Fairfield City Councilman Michael Halley said the reason behind this proposal is to minimize the effects of EAB in Fairfield. The infestation of trees is bad enough without the impact on the surrounding environment. And while treating a tree infested with EAB will prolong its life, it's very expensive and the tree must be treated throughout the entirety of its lifetime to save it completely. Therefore, replanting is the more practical option.

"This is the way to go, you have to look to the future," Halley said. "If you're trying to hold onto a tree by treating it, you might be able to afford to do that for five to seven years, maybe, so we're allowing property owners to do that if they choose to. But [it does not] slow the infestation in any way, it essentially can just spare the tree from succumbing sooner."

Halley said replanting will unfortunately change the tree landscape of Fairfield, but the city encountered a similar situation with Dutch Elm Disease.

The ordinance passed its first reading unanimously at the council meeting last week. It will be up for a second reading on March 10 and a third and final reading on March 24.