Last day to prune Elm trees before ban to prevent Dutch elm disease

By Brittney Matejka
March 31, 2018 - 1:30pm

MEDICINE HAT, AB. - The last day to prune elm trees until the fall is today, Saturday March 31, 2018.

Across Alberta, the pruning of elm trees is prohibited from April 1 to October 1 each year to reduce the risk of Dutch elm disease (DED). The fungus attacks Siberian and American Elm trees and the Banded Elm Bark Beetle can be a carrier for DED.

The fresh cuts made from pruning elm trees can attract the beetles who may be carrying the disease and increase the chance of spreading the infection. The beetles are most active from the spring to fall period and all dead or dying branches need to be pruned prior to the ban.

If a tree is infected with DED, a mature elm tree can die within a months time.

The Elm Bark Beetle was first spotted in Medicine Hat in 2007, and the City saw numbers increasing in the beetles population up until 2014. The population appears to have stabilized and monitoring efforts will continue throughout the pruning ban period with bark beetle traps placed across the city.

Elm should not be cut or used as firewood as the scent of the cut wood can also attract the banded elm bark beetle. The dried wood provides an ideal environment between the bark and the wood for the beetle to lay eggs.

Any trees pruned prior to the ban should be taken to the landfill and inform the staff to ensure it is disposed of properly.

More information can be found on the city of Medicine Hat’s website.

Arctic air mass keeping temperatures below seasonal levels this week