Dutch Elm Disease

Elaine Johnson. “When you are going camping, burn (the firewood) where you buy it.” Stripping firewood, other than elm of its bark, also renders it safe for moving around. It is illegal to transport elm firewood in Alberta.

Margaret Stevenson of the Recreation

Margaret Stevenson of the Recreation

By LAURA TESTER

Advocate staff

Trees can meet an untimely death because people are transporting firewood with pests in them.

During Dutch Elm Disease Awareness Week which runs until Sunday, Red Deer parks staff is urging residents to learn more about deadly tree diseases and to not lug firewood around.

Alberta has remained free of Dutch Elm Disease to date, but the disease is moving through Saskatchewan.

“Tree disease is predominantly spread by transporting firewood,” says urban forester Elaine Johnson. “When you are going camping, burn (the firewood) where you buy it.”

Stripping firewood, other than elm of its bark, also renders it safe for moving around.

It is illegal to transport elm firewood in Alberta.

Johnson also urges people to buy firewood from someone who is reputable.

Firewood can act as breeding sites for European and native bark beetles that cause Dutch Elm Disease.

“Now we’re seeing the movement of other pests that are just as deadly to our trees, and they’re also spread through firewood,” Johnson said.

Among wood-boring pests are the emerald ash borer, bronze birch borer and mountain pine beetle.

“All of these pests can kill a mature tree in one season,” said Johnson.

For more information on Dutch Elm disease, go online at www.stopded.org or call toll-free 310-0000 and then 403-782-8613. Infected elms, or those suspected of being infected, should be reported to the above DED hotline number.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com