August 31, 2020

Elm Tree Pruning Can Begin in September

Saskatchewan property owners can start pruning their elm trees again on September 1.

The annual ban on pruning elm trees is in place to reduce the risk of spreading Dutch elm disease (DED), a fungus that kills elm trees. The tiny elm bark beetles that carry DED are most active during the ban period, and fresh cuts from pruning can attract the insects to healthy trees.

Regular pruning is important to keep elms healthy and less vulnerable to diseases, including DED.  Removing dead branches makes trees less attractive to elm bark beetles.  The weather in early fall can be ideal for tree maintenance and it’s easier to see and remove dead or unhealthy branches with leaves still on the trees.

Whether you choose to prune your trees yourself or hire someone, it’s important to do the job properly.  If done incorrectly, pruning can damage your trees and spread DED and other diseases.  Under provincial regulations, individuals pruning elm trees commercially must have completed a recognized training program or be under the supervision of someone who has completed the program.

It is illegal to transport, store or use elm firewood, as the wood can carry the beetles that spread DED.  Dispose of elm wood promptly using the method and location approved by your local municipality.  To find out more about proper elm wood disposal in your area, check with your local municipal authority.

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