By Eraina Hooyer
The devastating effects of Dutch Elm disease has not yet reached Alberta but if it is introduced in the province it could prove to have devastating effects.
In Alberta there are a total of 219,334 elm trees worth $634 million dollars in the urban areas.
Alberta has remained Dutch Elm disease free with the one case of a tree in Wainwright that was confirmed to have the disease in 1998. The tree was removed and burned and firewood brought into the province was considered to be the cause of the transmission.
Dutch Elm disease does not appear to be a threat in Ponoka but Shayne Steffen, manager of Agricultural Services says it is still important to be cautious.
“I don’t think Ponoka has ever seen Dutch Elm disease,” said Steffen. “But it is still good to be aware of it.”
Dutch Elm disease is a deadly disease that can affect any elm tree. The disease was carried to North America from Europe in 1930 and since then has destroyed millions of elm trees across the continent.
The European elm bark beetle, on the other hand, has been found in many areas of Alberta including Red Deer and Wetaskiwin. The beetle is known to be a carrier of the disease and has the potential to cause devastating damage.
The early symptoms of the disease usually appear late June to the middle of July. The beginning stages of the disease include wilted and curled leaves that turn brown with time and remain on the tree. If the tree is infected later in the summer, the leaves will droop and turn yellow and drop to the ground before their time.
For more information visit www1.agric.gov.ab.ca.