The annual ban on pruning elm trees in Saskatchewan to help curb the spread of Dutch elm disease (DED) begins April 1, continuing until August 31.  During this period, it is illegal to prune elm trees.

The ban occurs at the time of year when the elm bark beetles that spread DED are most active.  Fresh cuts from trimming your trees can attract the tiny insects, increasing the chance of an infection.

There are more things you can do to help protect your community’s elm trees:

  • Prune your elms before or after the ban period to keep them healthy and better able to resist all types of disease, including DED. 
  • Remove unhealthy and dead elm wood cuts, reducing places for beetles to breed and the risk of infection.  
  • If you see an elm showing signs of DED – wilting, yellowing leaves on one or several branches near the top of the tree, usually beginning in late June – report it to your local municipality. 
  • Remove and dispose of DED-infected elms promptly, including during the ban period.

Transporting wood can spread DED, as well as other insects and diseases.  It is illegal to use, transport, store or sell elm firewood.  Regulations also restrict the use, transport, storage and sale of elm logs.  Dispose of all elm wood promptly and properly, at the location designated by your municipality.  Often, this is the local landfill, but confirm this with your local municipality.

Improper pruning can damage your trees and spread diseases.  If you hire someone to prune your trees, check their qualifications.  In Saskatchewan, those who prune elm trees commercially must have completed a recognized training program or be under the supervision of someone who has.

For more information, contact your local municipality or the Ministry of Environment Inquiry Centre at 1-800-567-4224, or visit www.saskatchewan.ca/forestry.