City crews are chopping down 53 trees along Stephen Avenue mall this week.

The trees are being replaced with new ones because they are diseased or dying, said Calgary park department urban forestry lead Jill-Anne Spence.


Jill-Anne Spence, urban forestry lead with Calgary's parks department, says the Brandon elms are diseased and are in major decline. (CBC)

"Calgarians do care about their trees but these trees, in particular, they're in major decline,” she said.

Trees face difficult growing conditions on Stephen Avenue — from salt build-up during the winter to having to grow in in vaults underneath the paved street — leaving them susceptible to bacterial leaf scorch and other diseases, the city said in a release.

“The period of time from when the leaves are green to when they die is becoming increasingly short, consequently reducing the ornamental greenery along the mall,” the city said.

Crews will remove the Brandon elms over the next two weeks, grind out the roots, vacuum out the debris and then add new soil and replant new trees by the middle of June, Spence said.

The replacement trees will include oak and white ash more suited to Calgary's cold climate. Spence said the entire project will cost about $50,000.