PEI

Dutch elms: moving cut wood can spread disease

Work to cut down about 320 diseased Dutch Elm trees in the city, begins next week and Charlottetown officials are asking the public not to move the wood cuttings.

Wood must be properly disposed to prevent elm bark beetle activity, say Charlottetown official

Trees infected with Dutch elm disease being cut down. (Lauren Golosky/CBC)

Work to cut down about 320 diseased Dutch Elm trees in the city, begins next week and Charlottetown officials are asking the public not to move the wood.

The wood is diseased and must be disposed of properly in order to manage the spread of the disease, says Beth Hoar, the city's parkland conservationist.

"The elm trees that are infected with the Dutch elm disease, they become infected by a beetle called the elm bark beetle. It actually hibernates in the wood of the diseased tree," said Hoar.

"So right now it's hibernating in that wood. And if you take that wood and store it once the weather warms up, then the beetles become active again and they will start to spread the disease. If we store the elm wood, it's a potential way to spread disease. So we really just want to dispose of it properly."

Two contractors will be taking the trees down and will be piling the wood near where the trees come down. The wood will then be picked up by city crews for proper disposal.

Hoar expects most of the wood will be buried in a deep pit.

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