Dutch elm disease affecting fewer trees this year
Winnipeg has one of North America's largest elm tree populations
Winnipeg city crews won't have to remove as many elm trees due to Dutch elm disease this year compared to last year.
City foresters in Winnipeg, which has one of the largest elm tree populations in North America, have been waging war on the disease for 37 years.
This year, about 4,800 elm trees have been marked for removal due to Dutch elm disease — that's about 1,000 fewer trees than last year.
City forester Martha Barwinsky says the number of infected trees varies year by year, but there could be a number of reasons for this year's drop.
"It could be attributed to a wide variety of things, whether it's elm bark beetle population, weather conditions, moisture conditons," she said Tuesday.
Barwinsky said Winnipeg is managing Dutch elm disease, but it will likely never be eradicated.
"Trees themselves are living organisms and there's genetic variability in them," she said.
"We really haven't really identified specifically why the disease behaves that way."