Banded Elm Bark Beetle and Dutch Elm Disease

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ELM TREE PRUNING BAN

To reduce the risk of Dutch elm disease (DED), pruning of elm trees is prohibited throughout Alberta from April 1 to October 1 each year. Fresh cuts from pruning attract the beetles that can spread the disease and increase the chance of an infection. This ban period is intended to coincide with the period during which elm bark beetles are most active. Pruning of dead and dying elm branches is encouraged from October 1 to March 31. This helps to reduce beetle breeding habitat. Prompt and proper disposal of the pruned elm wood is also essential to keep the vectors and disease from spreading. The STOPEDED/Alberta Agriculture website is the best source for information regarding Elm trees and the Elm Bark Beetle.

 

The City of Medicine Hat has both the American Elm and the Siberian Elm trees: Here are some images of helthy Elms to help you identify the trees.

 
Healthy American Elm Bark and foliage


Healthy American Elm tree bark


Healthy Siberian Elm tree foliage

  
 Branded Elm Bark Beetle

 

BANDED ELM BARK BEETLE AND DUTCH ELM DISEASE
Frequently Asked Questions

What is Dutch Elm Disease?

It is a fungus that attacks Siberian and American Elm trees in our area. Banded Elm Bark Beetles are one of three potential carriers of Dutch Elm Disease.

How serious is Dutch Elm disease?
It has the potential to be very serious. A mature Elm tree will die within a month of being infected. In 2011, the City of Winnipeg had to remove 4400 Elm trees.

Have Banded Elm Bark Beetles been found around here?
Elm bark beetles were first found in Medicine Hat in 2007, and the population numbers appear to have increased yearly up until 2014. Preliminary data from this year have shown that the population may have stabilized, although monitoring efforts continue with bark beetle traps placed throughout the City from April to October.


What do I do if I suspect that an Elm tree has Banded Elm Bark Beetles?
Starting in late June, leaves curl, turn yellow and then brown (called flagging) on one or more branches in the crown of the tree. Brown wilted leaves will remain on the tree throughout the winter months. If you see these signs on any Elm tree, call Parks and Recreation at 403-529-8333. Qualified arborists will examine the tree to determine if the tree is at risk and what steps need to be taken.

Why is there a pruning ban between April 1 and Sept 30?
Cutting the bark of an Elm tree releases a scent that attracts Banded Elm Bark Beetles.

What about firewood?
Never store or keep cut elm because the cut wood releases a scent that attracts the Banded Elm Bark Beetle. As the wood dries, it provides the perfect environment for the beetle to lay eggs between the separating bark and wood.

If I prune my Elm trees during the proper time of the year, what do I do with the pruned wood?
You should take to the landfill, inform the staff at the landfill you need to dispose of Elm wood and it should be buried.

Where can I find out more about Dutch Elm Disease?
Excellent information can be found on the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease (STOPDED) website or by clicking here.