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The City of Moose Jaw will be closing down the 200 Block of Athabasca Street East Monday, July 23 from 8:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. to remove a tree infected with Dutch Elm Disease, Moose Jaw's seventh case of the year.

The Friendly City is no stranger to Elm Bark Beetle and fungus that causes the disease, and the City remains vigilant for any possible cases.

Dutch Elm Disease usually stays in the same area, as it passes tree to tree if they are in the nearby, and it can take years to eradicate the disease in an area.

Saying this is the seventh case of the year seems terrible, but with an average of 14 cases annually, there isn't much concern yet.

"So far we've done a pretty good job of managing it. We do watch our average, sometimes we do have years that are a little bit higher so we are watching that we're not getting higher two years in a row," explained Parks Gardener for the City Sarah Regent. "So right now we're not really concerned and it's hard to say what that threshold would be. Really we're just looking for if we are able to keep up with removing the tree."

Prevention is always top of mind though, and that begins with residents in Moose Jaw. Dutch Elm Disease guidelines are all provincially regulated, so from place to place, it remains the same.

The biggest prevention projects for the province are the Dutch Elm Pruning Ban and having residents not transport firewood.

Pruning Elm trees attract the Elm Bark Beetle which spreads the fungus that causes Dutch Elm Disease.

With transporting firewood, you're not too sure what the tree had before it was cut down. There could still be beetles inside the log of the fungus on it, which would only further spread the disease. You can spot a tree infected by the spores easily enough also, and the City needs you to report it to them.

"The first thing we do when we see a tree with the classic symptoms of Dutch Elm Disease, which is yellowing and browning leaves usually on one side of the tree or just one main branch," Regent explained. "The first thing we do is we sample it and we send that sample off to the crop protection lab who can confirm for us if it is Dutch Elm Disease."

You can report a tree with the disease to the Parks & Recreation Department at 306-694-4447.

If you're seeking more info on prevention of the disease or more info on it, you can visit the City's Dutch Elm Disease page.

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