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Elm tree pruning ban now in effect

People in Grande Prairie are again being reminded not to trim their elm trees over the summer. The province-wide elm tree pruning ban will be in effect from now until October.

City Integrated Pest Management Coordinator Amy Needham says this happens every year as a way to stop the spread of the Elm Bark Beetle and the disease they can carry.

“They are attracted to the smell that the trees give off when they’ve been freshly pruned and that’s really attractive to the beetles… It’ll draw them right to the trees and increase the chances of the trees being infected by the disease they’re carrying.”

Dutch Elm Disease is a fungal infection that is moved from tree to tree by the beetles. They borrow under the bark damaging the tree. The damage spreads and the trees eventually die.

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The beetle was first found in Grande Prairie in 2017 but currently, they are not carrying the disease. Needham says the ban effectively hides the trees from the insects.

“If everyone was pruning… the smell that would be given off would be overwhelming. There’s no way the beetles would be able to ignore it. If they were anywhere close they would just flood in in droves. So by having the pruning ban on we’re basically trying to hide our elms from the beetles.”

Early signs of the disease are upper branches dying and leaves turning yellow in mid-summer. The ban will be in place until October 1st.

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