Watch for yellow or brown leaves on elms

If elms on your property are in autumn mode already, they may be infected with Dutch elm disease (DED).

“Symptoms of DED infection are leaves initially wilting followed by curling, turning yellow, and then brown,” said Janet Feddes-Calpas, executive director of the Society to Prevent Dutch Elm Disease. “This is also referred to as flagging. Leaf symptoms are usually accompanied by brown staining under the bark.”

The fungus that causes DED is primarily spread by elm bark beetles. Infected trees must be removed immediately to prevent further spread. Samples from elms suspected to have Dutch elm disease can be sent to Alberta Agriculture and Forestry’s plant health lab for testing at no charge. Information on how to submit a sample can be found at www.stopded.org or by calling 1-877-837-ELMS (3567).

Elm bark beetle numbers have increased in recent years, especially along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, said Feddes-Calpas.

“For this reason, it is important that elm firewood not be transported into or within Alberta as the wood may be harbouring the bark beetles,” she said.

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