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Saskatchewan’s Dutch Elm pruning season begins for 2020

Residents on the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster can once again help reduce the spread of Dutch Elm Disease this year.

Starting tomorrow, September 1st, the regular ban on Dutch Elm pruning will be lifted. The ban is put in place in the from the end of winter to end of summer because the small elm bark beetles, which carry the Dutch Elm Disease fungus, are most active during this time. Fresh cuts from pruning can attract the insects to healthy trees and spread the disease. The fungus then clogs an elm tree’s water-conducting system causing the tree to die.

Residents can watch for Dutch Elm disease by looking for certain signs. Leaves on a DED-infected elm will wilt and become brown in mid-June to mid-July. Trees infected later in the season usually turn yellow and drop prematurely and will have brown staining under the bark.

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment says pruning these trees in the fall keeps elms healthy and less vulnerable to diseases, including DED. That way, elm beetles won’t be attracted to the dead branches.

The province is also reminding people to make sure they or someone they hire to prune the trees can do it correctly because if it is not done right it can actually spread tree diseases and also damage the tree. If someone is offering to prune the trees commercially,  they must have completed a Saskatchewan-recognized training program or be under the supervision of someone who has completed the program.

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People are also reminded that it is illegal to transport, use or store elmwood, as beetles hiding in it can still spread the disease. They should instead burn the wood or bring it the City of Lloydminster landfill where it can be destroyed.

People can report a DED infected tree, or ask questions about it by calling the Ministry of Environment’s Inquiry Centre at 1-800-567-4224.

Alberta’s ban on Elm tree pruning will be lifted on September 30th.

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