City of Regina says trees stressed by drought, but not dying

Elm trees shed seeds every springtime, but this year residents can expect to see more than the usual amount scattered about because of the dry weather.

The excessive scattering of seeds throughout city is imminent

Elm trees shed their seeds every year, but residents could see more than usual in the spring of 2018. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

Elm trees shed seeds every springtime, but this year Regina residents can expect can see more than the usual amount scattered about because of last year's dry conditions. 

"The trees are essentially stressed from a drought and from that, then they start to overproduce the seeds," said Russell Eirich, who is the city's manager of forestry, pest control and horticulture, on Tuesday. 

He expects most of the seeds to turn brown and fall from the trees in the next five to 10 days.

Eirich said that in past years that boast similar conditions, there would be 100 to 150 calls to the city, from people assuming the worst. 

But people shouldn't panic. The tree isn't dying — rather, the seed is maturing. 

"It's going to be nuisance. It's going to make a mess in people's  yards, but essentially all you need to do is just rake them up," he said. 

The city will soon be starting up a watering program to help about 4,800 young or newly planted trees handle dry conditions this year, he said, adding they'll first water the trees every ten days or so.
Regina's elm trees were stressed by the dry, hot conditions in 2017. These seeds were green on Tuesday, but it's expected they will turn brown and fall within the coming week. (Kendall Latimer/CBC)

"Starting in [the] mid-June period we're actually going to run those trucks seven days a week," he said. 

People trying to help their trees at home should use a potato fork or something similar to poke holes around their trees through sod before watering, he said.

This helps the water get into the root system. 

To Eirich's knowledge, no trees died because of last summer's drought. 

However, 10 trees were lost because of Dutch elm disease. One indicator of the disease is when the leaves on the tree turn yellow but don't fall off.