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Province supports RMs in fight to save elms

Posted: April 22, 2021

 
Province supports RMs in fight to save elms

 
Manitoba’s communities are fortunate to have beautiful urban forests. Constant maintenance and management is necessary to maintain the health of these valuable trees. Manitoba’s largest forest health program involves the management of Dutch elm disease.
 
Elms make up a major component of Manitoba’s urban forests. Many of East St. Paul’s beautiful, large, mature trees are elms. Last year, ESP lost more than 500 trees to DED and annually loses an average of 300. Last year’s numbers may have been elevated due to drier conditions.
 
Manitoba Agriculture and Resource Development’s Forestry Branch partners with 38 communities outside of the City of Winnipeg to manage DED in Manitoba. The Department funds these communities directly through grant funding agreements, with a budget of over $1 million annually. As well, Manitoba allocates significant resources to community forest health surveillance, support for urban forest inventories, forest management training and invasive species preparedness.
 
In 2020, 4,315 trees were marked province-wide, with $1,049,899 in grant funding provided to communities to assist with removals.
 
It is important for homeowners to know that it is illegal to store all elm firewood, as it is a major factor in spreading Dutch elm disease.
 
If property owners have a high value elm that they would like to protect, they can hire an arborist with a valid pesticide applicator’s licensed to inject the tree with a registered fungicide. These treatments typically need to be repeated every two years.
 
In 2021, Manitoba will again move forward with its DED survey program with some modifications to accommodate physical distancing and health safety measures, due to COVID-19. Many residents are used to seeing Dutch elm disease surveyors driving or walking around both public and private properties while they conduct their work. The surveyors wear high visibility vests and government issued I.D., but this year staff may also wear other protective equipment, including masks. In support of physical distancing measures, staff may not approach every resident or house before entering onto properties to conduct inspections. Surveyors will still ring doorbells or knock on doors prior to taking branch samples, marking trees or identifying firewood piles for removal. Staff will always maintain at least two metres distance between themselves and others, and residents are asked to respect this policy when approaching staff as well.

 

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