Charlottetown busy replanting elm trees

Dave Stewart
Published on February 13, 2014

Lowell Tuplin demonstrates how he treats his elm tree to help slow the spread of the dreaded Dutch Elm Disease. He fills the drill holes with pure turpentine and then plugs the holes with earplugs.
Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer

The City of Charlottetown was busy fighting Dutch elm disease in 2013.

Coun. Rob Lantz, vice-chairman of the urban beautification, says the city removed 68 trees last year that were devastated by the disease but more than made up for it by planting 85 new trees.

“It is striking to see them come down. They (stumps) create a visual blight on the streetscape. We can’t plant trees in the exact same place (but) there were more trees planted than were cut down.’’

The issue came up when Coun. Mitchell Tweel noted the amount of tree stumps that have been removed and asked Lantz what the city’s plan was.

Lantz estimates there is a net gain of 15 to 20 elm trees.

Dutch elm disease is a fungi spread by the elm bark beetle. It has devastated native populations of elms which had not had the opportunity to evolve resistance to the disease. It can affect any elm tree.

Since its introduction from Europe in 1930, it has destroyed millions of elm trees across North America.

The early symptoms appear from the latter half of June to the middle of July when the leaves on one or more branches may wilt, droop and curl. The leaves then turn brown and usually remain on the tree. If the tree is infected later in the summer, the leaves will droop, turn yellow and drop prematurely.

It should be noted that while diseased elm trees have been taken down and removed on private property, the city doesn’t have the authority to replant trees on private property.

Due to the interest from various councillors on the issue at Monday night’s public meeting, Lantz asked all of his colleagues to submit a list to his committee of where they would like to see elm trees planted in the city.