A lot of Winnipeg elm trees in Kildonan Park have orange bull's eyes sprayed onto them this summer – an indelible mark of death left by city crews indicating the presence of Dutch elm disease.


Dutch elm disease is a fungus spread by beetles that has devestated North American elm populations, such as this lichen-covered elm that was cut down in Maine a few years ago. (Steven Senne/Associated Press)

"It appears that Kildonan Park may be a hotspot again this year,” said City of Winnipeg forester Martha Barwinksy.

“We tend to get hotspots from year to year," she said. "These hotspots tend to move around the city where we do have areas where there's higher incidents of Dutch Elm disease.”

So far 60 trees are marked to be chopped down, said Barwinksy, and crews haven't even surveyed along the river yet.

It’s going to take until the end of summer to determine how much damage Dutch elm disease has done this year in the park and across the city, Barwinsky said.

"Our concern is the entire city of Winnipeg and the entire canopy,” said Barwinsky. "I am actually more concerned when we see a higher incidence of disease such of that in St. Norbert and some other areas that are hotspots."

Last year more than a hundred elms were chopped down in Kildonan Park, Barwinsky said.