The City of Weyburn is currently in the process of spraying for Dutch Elm Disease (DED). The process got underway this morning at 6:00 a.m. in refuse collection area 1 and will continue tomorrow in areas 2, 3, 5, and Thursday in area 4.
DED is an incurable fungal disease spread by the elm bark beetle that kills any elm tree it infects. To help combat the disease, which has spread throughout Weyburn, the City will focus specifically on city-owned elm trees.
The 2022 program includes the spraying of only city-owned trees on city boulevards, parks, and green spaces.
The dates will be announced via the Citizen Alert System, the City of Weyburn website, and social media platforms. Operations are weather-permitting.
Spraying operations will be conducted between 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m., but will cease between 8:00 and 9:00 a.m., and over the lunch hour, when students may be present. Signage will also be placed to identify that spraying is in progress and that people and pets should avoid these areas.
"Basal Spraying itself involves spraying the trunk of an Elm tree from its base to about a height of half a meter with an insecticide applied at low pressure using backpack sprayers," explained Parks Manager Curtis Block. "It dries very quickly in the bark, and it provides two years of control. This will help curb the spread of the Elm bark beetle, which is the vector to how Dutch Elm disease fungus has spread."
He added, it is important to note this is not a cure, but a tool to help control DED.
"As of September 1st, the provincial ban of pruning Elm trees has been lifted, so you can now prune Elm trees," he noted. "So, just a reminder, to help prevent the spread of Dutch Elm disease, avoid the illegal practice of transporting, storing, and using Elm as firewood. All Elm firewood should be disposed of at the landfill."
The City of Weyburn will remove and dispose of all DED-infected trees found in 2022, and the Parks Department will continue maintenance on uninfected trees to help ensure the disease does not spread.
This time of year, one of the most important ways to help prevent the spread of DED is to avoid the illegal practice of transporting, storing, and using elm firewood.