The province’s annual elm tree pruning ban kicks in on Saturday, and will be in effect until the end of August. The annual ban is imposed to help prevent the spread of Dutch elm disease.
Dutch elm disease, which is fatal to elm trees, is caused by a fungus that is carried by elm bark beetles. The beetles become more and more active as the weather warms up, and they are attracted to fresh cuts on trees.
It is recommended to prune elm trees before or after the ban to ensure they are kept healthy. Given that the beetles breed in dead and dying elm wood, eliminating the habitat with timely pruning outside the ban can help reduce the insect’s numbers.
During the ban, an elm tree can be completely removed, but the wood needs to be properly disposed of. In addition to the ban, it is also illegal to store, sell, transport or use elm firewood in Saskatchewan, as the wood can still be a habitat for the elm bark beetle.