A 2013 Dutch elm disease (DED) survey conducted by the Ministry of Environment and participating communities shows the elm tree-killing fungus remains established in its traditional area – southeast Saskatchewan – but has not spread to any new areas in the province. Though the number of diseased trees is up from 2012, the increase is attributable to more communities surveying for DED.
“It’s encouraging to see Saskatchewan communities working to protect the health of their urban forests,” Environment Minister Ken Cheveldayoff said. “Finding and removing DED-infected trees helps limit tree losses in our communities by preventing the disease from spreading to healthy elms. This keeps our streets greener, and reduces tree removal and replanting costs over the long term.”
Communities are responsible for their own surveys and for submitting samples to the Provincial Crop Protection Laboratory. A positive test result for DED means the infected tree should be removed and either buried or burned. Municipalities can designate their own disposal methods and locations.
The Ministry of Environment surveys seven management zones for DED: Estevan, Regina, Moose Jaw, Tisdale, Balcarres, Indian Head and Wolseley. A total of 214 trees in these zones were marked this year for removal, up from 162 last year. The ministry removes these marked trees during the fall and winter.
To help protect trees and communities from Dutch elm disease:
Do not prune elm trees from April 1 to August 31, when the risk of spreading DED is greatest.
Maintain trees to help ensure good health and greater resistance to diseases, including DED.
Be sure the person hired to prune elms has completed a recognized training course.
Do not transport or store elm firewood. Dispose elm wood promptly at a location specified by the local municipal authority.
Be sure to comply with all provincial regulations concerning the pruning of elm trees.
Call the ministry (toll-free: 1-800-567-4224) or the local municipal office for more information.
Through its 44 offices across the province, the Ministry of Environment provides science-based solutions, compliance and mitigation measures aimed at protecting the environment, safeguarding communities and contributing to the province’s economic growth.