Dutch Elm Disease

What is Dutch Elm Disease?
Dutch Elm Disease is a deadly wilt disease fungus that stops the flow of water within the elm tree. It is spread by elm bark beetles carrying the spores to healthy trees or by roof grafting.  Did you know…..Our City tree canopy is made up of 76% elm trees?  We need you to help us battle DED. Please visit the following for more information http://www.saskatchewan.ca/business/agriculture-natural-resources-and-industry/forestry/forest-health/dutch-elm-disease.

How to spot an infected tree
Symptoms of an infected tree usually appear on a single branch with wilting & yellowing of foliage. It may appear like the tree is starting to "turn” as it does in the fall. As symptoms progress, more of the tree becomes affected with branch dieback, wilting and yellowing & browning branches.

When to Prune?
The Dutch Elm Disease (DED) Control regulations, under The Forest Resources Management Act, prohibit any pruning of any elm from April 1st to August 31st of each year. This annual pruning ban is in effect because the native elm bark beetle that spreads DED is most active during this period. The beetle is attracted to the smell of freshly cut elm wood, particularly during its spring breeding period. Pruning during the ban will actually increase the risk of attracting beetles to your elm tree. This pruning ban applies to all species of elm, the American elm is most susceptible to DED.  On approval from the City or the Ministry, the entire tree may be removed at any time, and hauled to the City of Melfort landfill.

How does pruning your elms help prevent DED?
The elm bark beetle that spreads DED builds galleries and lays eggs under the bark of dead or dying elm wood. The more breeding material available, the higher the beetle population. The more beetles there are, the more difficult it is to manage the disease. Dying branches on an elm increase the chances that a beetle, possibly carrying the DED fungus will make its way to your tree. Pruning dead and dying branches also makes a tree healthier and generally less susceptible to insects and disease. Anyone pruning an elm tree must sterilize all saws, pruning poles, and other equipment before proceeding to prune another elm tree. You can use Ethyl alcohol, Isopropyl, methyl hydrate or bleach as a sterilant.  The City of Melfort has completed Elm pruning throughout the City in 2016 & 2017 to aid in the prevention of DED. 

Where can you dispose of elm wood?
Be sure that any pruned wood is disposed of promptly. The beetle will use the cut wood as a breeding ground. It is ILLEGAL to store, use or transport elm wood, unless taking it to the nearest designated elm wood disposal site. The landfill west of Melfort is the designated disposal site for the Melfort area. You must inform the landfill attendant that it is elm wood you are disposing as it needs to be buried and cannot be stored with the other trees. Elm wood cannot be used as mulch.