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The trees are dead or dying. ((CBC))

Four majestic elm trees on the property surrounding Province House in Charlottetown have to be cut down.

The century-old trees are either dying or are dead, and experts say it's important the trees be removed so healthy trees don't suffer the same fate.

Provincial tree specialist Dave Carmichael can't say for sure it was Dutch elm disease that killed the giants. Because they are already dead, any tests would come back inconclusive.

But Carmichael said it is a big loss to the historical landscape.

"It's quite disheartening to see this," Carmichael told CBC News Tuesday.

"I have been dealing with trees my whole life, and have a passion for it, and to see something so massive succumb to whatever it may be that's killing it, is certainly disheartening."

Dutch Elm Disease was first discovered in Charlottetown in 1996. The disease is usually spread by a small beetle. Carmichael said once a tree is infected there's no way to save it, and the best thing to do is cut it down.

"To actually remove and dispose of properly those infested trees … mitigates, or at least minimizes the advancement of, the disease for the remaining population of elms," he said.

Carmichael said the four diseased trees will be cut down this fall.