The City of Regina destroyed three trees infected with Dutch Elm Disease so far this summer. The elms were in the Wood Meadows neighbourhood in Regina’s east end. The infected trees were all within a block of each other.
Russel Eirich, the manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture for the City of Regina, says the disease was likely spread by careless campers. “We think it has a little more to do with elm firewood coming into town,” Eirich said. “They brought the disease in that way and the beetles went to another tree.”
The elm bark beetle develops its larvae in dead and dying elm material.
It is illegal to transport, buy or store elm firewood in Saskatchewan. Eirich also pointed out pruning trees between April and September is prohibited by provincial legislation, as the sap from fresh cuts can attract the beetles.
Crews patrol the city’s alleys and streets several times a year. They look for trees with limbs that suddenly die off and for yellowing leaves that curl and become crunchy and brown.
Eirich is satisfied with the current number of trees detected. The number is below average for this time of year. Only 95 trees have been destroyed in the last 35 years. “So we’re doing very well,” said Eirich.
Regina has more than 77,000 elm trees — all of them planted by hand.