Saskatoon

Saskatoon looks to beat bark beetle and save urban forest

The pruning ban is in effect and the warnings are out as Saskatoon prepares to keep the elm bark beetle out of the urban forest this summer.

Battle of the beetle in effect

Elm trees in Saskatoon have been unaffected by Dutch elm disease until now. This canopy of trees along Spadina Crescent is just one location for elms in the city. (City of Saskatoon)

The pruning ban is in effect and the warnings are out as Saskatoon prepares to keep the elm bark beetle out of the urban forest this summer.

We will act accordingly.- MIchelle Chartier 

The tree killing beetle brought the first confirmed case of Dutch elm disease to the city last year.

"The case that we had last summer may be an isolated case," said Michelle Chartier, Superintendent of Urban Forestry and Pest Management in an interview with CBC Radio's Saskatoon Morning.  

"We are going to step up our surveillance this year and hopefully people will be vigilant."

People can help by honouring the bans.

First, the seasonal pruning ban.  Fresh cuts in elm trees as the result of pruning can be very attractive to the elm bark beetle.

Most important, Chartier said, is the complete ban on anyone bringing elm firewood into the city.   

"If someone brought in infected wood that had the beetle in the wood, that beetle would fly over top of a healthy tree and start to go into that healthy tree spreading the disease."

Other tactics in the fight against Dutch elm disease include banding trees to keep canker worms and other pests out so that the trees can remain strong and healthy. The city is also working to make sure the urban forest is more diverse and ecologically sound.

If you do suspect your tree is infected with Dutch elm disease, contact the city at 975-2890.

with files from Saskatoon Morning

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