Ottawa residents hoping to say goodbye to their trees ravaged by the emerald ash borer might have to wait as long as half a year before city crews show up to cut it down.

The forestry services branch at the City of Ottawa said there are about 4,400 trees on the waiting list to be cut down and removed.

That means some residents could wait between four and six months for crews to arrive to take away trees infested with ash borer.

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The emerald ash borer has been the source of an increased workload for Ottawa's forestry services branch over the past five years.

The city's forestry services manager said the wait is tied to a method that aims to be more efficient with its marking of infested trees.

“We try and go in and do all of the streets at the same time,” said David Barkley.

“There will be times when one homeowner may call; we won't mark that tree right away. We might wait and mark the whole street at the same time.”

15,000 trees removed in 5 years

The summer is, not surprisingly, the busiest time of year for tree removal. Barkley asked residents for their patience as his office tries to schedule crews to be as productive as possible.

Crews have already removed about 15,000 trees since the emerald ash borer emerged in Ottawa in 2009, Barkley said. That work now costs municipal taxpayers $4.5 million per year, including a widespread reforestation program.

Barkley also said crews plant about 5,000 new trees each year.

“Any place where you see us removing a tree, we'll be putting trees back. We're still trying to stay ahead of the insect and do proactive planting,” he added.

The majority of the replanting happens in the fall and spring.

Residents worried about a dead or dying ash tree on their property are asked to call 311.