Saskatchewan residents with elm trees on their property can prune them again, as the province has lifted the ban for another year.
The ban is put in in the spring and summer, between April 1st and August 31st, to reduce the risk of spreading Dutch elm disease, a fungus that kills elms. The ban comes in at the time tiny elm bark beetles that carry DED are most active and fresh cuts from pruning attract the insects, which could spread DED to healthy trees.
Now that regular pruning is okay again, it’s encouraged that people do it to keep trees healthy and less vulnerable to disease. The Ministry of Environment adds that fall weather makes it much easier to see and remove dead or unhealthy branches, especially with the leaves still present.
The MOE also notes that incorrect pruning can damage trees and spread DED or other diseases, and as such pruning should only be done by people who know what they’re doing.
If hiring out to do the pruning, residents should only get someone who has completed a recognized training program or be supervised by someone who has.
People are also reminded that in order to prevent DED or elm beetles, it’s illegal to store, transport or use elmwood. Instead, people should dispose of elm wood promptly, by burning or burying it in a location designated by the local municipality. People can find out what their local policy is by checking with their local municipal authority.
If someone suspects a tree may have DED, they should contact the Ministry of Environment’s Inquiry Centre.