Services > Parks > Dutch Elm Disease
Saskatchewan Dutch Elm Disease Association
What is Dutch Elm Disease?
Dutch Elm Disease (DED) is a deadly fungal disease that can infect and kill an elm tree by clogging its water conducting vessels.
In Saskatchewan, the disease is spread by the native elm bark beetle.
The DED fungus becomes attached to the beetle during its breeding period and is then spread as the beetle moves to healthy elms to feed and over winter.
There is no cure for DED and infected trees should be removed immediately and disposed of by either burning or burial.
DED first appeared in Saskatchewan when one infected elm was discovered in Regina in 1981.
DED has since become well established in the southeastern and northeastern areas of the Province, having spread west from Manitoba where it has been a serious problem since the 1970's.
In Weyburn, one case of DED was confirmed in 1991. Following its removal, the City remained disease-free until the summer of 2001, when an infected tree was located on provincial property in the vicinity of the Souris Valley Extended Care Center. The diseased tree was immediately removed by City staff and no additional infected trees have since been found during regular surveillance of the area.
The disease has also been identified in the Estevan, Carlyle, Fillmore, Yellow Grass and Trossachs areas.
There are approximately 2,200 elms growing in Weyburn's urban forest, roughly half of which are located on City property. All of these trees continue to be at risk of contracting DED and it is only a matter of time until the disease reoccurs in Weyburn.
How can I tell if my elm has DED?
As early as June, the leaves on a DED-infected elm will wilt, turn yellow, then curl and brown. Symptoms usually appear first in the tree's crown and can be seen until fall colors appear. These symptoms do not guarantee the presence of DED as there are other diseases which exhibit similar symptoms. The only method to positively confirm the disease is through laboratory analysis.
If you suspect any elm of having DED, please contact the Parks Department at (306) 848-3290. We will inspect the tree and, if necessary, take samples to be analyzed in the laboratory.
As the City considers DED prevention of utmost importance, this service is provided free of charge.
Pruning and Disposal:
Keep your elms healthy by pruning dead or dying branches. Promptly dispose of any elm material at the landfill. Elm wood left laying around can harbor the native elm bark beetle.
Provincial regulations prohibit the pruning of elm trees between April 1st and August 31st.
The native elm bark beetle is most active during this period and is attracted to the freshly cut elm.
Provincial regulations also prohibit the storage and transportation of elm for firewood.
What is the City doing to prevent Dutch Elm Disease?
Weyburn possesses a natural buffer zone. There are no native stands of elms lining rivers and waterways which can ease the progression of the disease. While this is an advantage, it does not mean we can be any less vigilant regarding disease prevention and control.
The City of Weyburn has a successful DED prevention and control program. Virtually all aspects are performed by fully trained and qualified Parks Department employees.
The City employs a schedule where pruning occurs every fall and winter, resulting in each City-owned tree being pruned every five years. Special attention is devoted to pruning elm trees to ensure all dead growth is removed and to improve the general health and vigor in order to maximize disease resistance.
In an attempt to control the movement of the elm bark beetle as it moves upward into the tree canopy, basal spraying is performed to all City-owned elms every two years. Basal spraying is also done to privately-owned elms following the receipt of written authorization from the property-owner.
Contact the Parks Department for additional information regarding basal spraying programs.
The City also performs regular inspection and surveillance of all elms, both City and privately-owned trees.
If you have any questions or concerns regarding Dutch Elm Disease, please do not hesitate to contact the Parks Department at (306) 848-3290.
Saskatchewan Environment also operates a DED hotline at 1-800-SASKELM or 1-800-727-5356.