It's only half done, but the City of Winnipeg says the number of elms counted since a recent inventory began puts the city on track to be North America's leader in elm trees.

City forester Martha Barwinsky said crews started in May counting elms on private property. So far they have covered only the northern half of the city, but the numbers are already suprising.

"We had originally estimated that perhaps we had about 60,000 trees on private property," she said. "But we've found that we're almost at double that."

Barwinsky now estimates there could be 140,000 elms in Winnipeg. She said that puts the city in a distinct category "as having the highest population of elms in any city in North America.

"And so now, we certainly are the city of elms, with the higher numbers that we've found so far."

She said the count shows how important it is for homeowners to grow and maintain trees on their property.

Barwinsky hopes to finish the count next summer.