Annually, June 22 to 28 is the week that the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease (STOPDED) asks for our assistance to save beautiful elm trees from the deadly Dutch elm disease (DED).
Alberta has been fortunate to remain DED-free but is constantly aware of the threat of the disease pressing the Saskatchewan and Montana borders. One of the largest spreaders of DED are the elm bark beetles (EBB). Beetles can hitch a ride on infected elmwood and be carried by unsuspecting campers and homeowners.
DED is caused by a fungus that clogs the elm tree’s water-conducting system, causing the tree to die. The fungus is primarily spread from one elm tree to another by one of the three EBBs: the smaller European elm bark beetle, the banded elm bark beetle, or the native elm bark beetle. The beetles are attracted to weak and dying trees, which serve as breeding sites. Once the beetles have pupated and turned into adults, they leave the brood gallery and fly to healthy elms to feed, thus transporting the fungus on their bodies from one tree to the next.
What Can We Do?
Know the DED symptoms. Leaves on a DED-infected elm will wilt or droop, curl and become brown. This appears in mid-June to mid-July. Leaves on trees infected later in the season usually turn yellow and drop prematurely. Leaf symptoms are accompanied by brown staining under the bark.
· If you feel an elm has DED symptoms, please phone the STOPDED hotline at 1-877-837-ELMS.
· Be aware of the provincial elm pruning ban between April 1 and September 30.
· Keep your elm trees healthy.
· Water elms well from April to mid-August.
· Remove dead elm branches between October 1 and March 31st.
· Dispose of all elm wood immediately by burning, burying or chipping.
· Report all suspect trees to the DED Hotline at 1-877-837-ELMS.
What you should NOT do:
· Do not transport elm firewood into Alberta! Firewood is confiscated at all the Alberta-Montana border crossings.
· Do not prune elms between April 1 to September 30.
To report a DED suspect elm tree or for more information, call the STOPDED hotline at 1-877-837-ELMS or check out the web site at www.stopded.org.
DED is preventable.