The City of Moose Jaw’s Parks and Recreation Department continues to wage war against Dutch Elm Disease.
So far, 18 trees have been identified as having Dutch Elm Disease and are being removed this summer. These trees include 14 public and four private trees spread throughout the city. There are about 18,000 elm trees in total in Moose Jaw.
Dutch Elm Disease is caused by a fungal pathogen spread through elm bark beetles. The first sign of Dutch Elm Disease is that the tree will begin to die starting from the top.
“You'll never find leaves browning at the bottom. Sometimes it's just one side, and sometimes it'll start with one branch but the leaves start to wilt, and we call it flagging. The leaves turn brown, but they don't fall off,” said City Parks Supervisor Daily Lennox.
The city has already done one surveillance of the city for the disease and will do another surveillance in the first two weeks of August. City crews will be checking every street and alley looking for infected trees and illegal elm firewood.
Residents are reminded that it is illegal in Saskatchewan to transport or store elm firewood. If a branch falls off of your elm tree, call the city’s Park and Recreation Department and they will give you a temporary permit to take the branch to the landfill with tipping fees waived so that it can be disposed of properly.
Lennox said the best defence against Dutch Elm Disease is to keep a healthy tree.
“This year we're getting rain which is absolutely wonderful because the trees have had two years where it's been really, really hard on them. I know water bills are high, but that is the best thing they can do for the trees is try and keep them as healthy as possible and that is water right now,” she said.
The city does implement a basal spraying program, but it will likely be coming to an end after 2023 as the chemical is being taken off of the market.