Elm Tree Pruning Ban Over

Carving pumpkins, sipping apple cider and pruning elm trees: all these activities are signs of the approaching fall season, as the annual ban on pruning elm trees lifts on September 1.

To limit the spread of Dutch elm disease (DED), Saskatchewan enforces an elm pruning ban each year from April 1 to August 31. Elm bark beetles, the carriers of the fungus that causes DED, are most active April through August and are attracted to the scent from the fresh cuts that result from pruning. Early September is an ideal time to prune as elm bark beetle activity is low and unhealthy branches are easier to recognize when leaves are still present.

Tips to keep elm trees healthy include:

  • Prune properly, whether you hire someone or do it yourself. Commercial elm tree pruners must have completed a recognized training program or be supervised by someone who has. 
  • Follow provincial regulations. It is illegal to transport, use or store elm firewood, which can also spread DED.
  • You are allowed to transport elm wood for disposal, which should be done promptly. Contact your local municipality for the designated disposal location nearest to you. 

DED is well established in eastern Saskatchewan and continues to spread, with Prince Albert confirming its first case this year. By pruning outside the ban period and following the above tips, especially not moving elm firewood, you can help reduce the spread of DED and help to keep Saskatchewan elm trees healthy.

For more information about DED, or if you suspect an elm tree might be infected, call the Ministry of Environment’s Inquiry Centre at 1-800-567-4224.

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