The annual ban on pruning elm trees in Saskatchewan begins April 1 and runs until August 31. The ban is in place to protect the province’s elm trees by helping stop the spread of Dutch elm disease (DED).
DED is caused by a fungus that’s spread by elm bark beetles. With warmer weather, these tiny beetles become more active and are attracted to fresh cuts on trees, making an infection more likely.
In addition to respecting the pruning ban, there are other things you can do to help protect your community’s elm trees. Pruning your trees before or after the ban period helps keep them healthy and better able to resist all kinds of diseases, including DED. Elm bark beetles breed in dead and dying elm wood, so eliminating their habitat with proper pruning helps reduce beetle numbers.
Pruning improperly can damage your trees and spread diseases. If you hire someone else to prune your trees, check their qualifications. Anyone who prunes elm trees commercially must have completed a recognized training program or be supervised by someone who has.
You are allowed to completely remove an elm tree during the ban period, but it’s critical to dispose of all elm wood promptly and properly. Contact your local municipality to find out where the designated disposal site is in your area.
Transporting wood can also spread DED, as well as other insects and diseases. That’s why it’s illegal to use, transport, store or sell elm firewood. Provincial regulations also restrict the use, transport, storage and sale of elm logs.
For more information, contact your local municipality, the Ministry of Environment Inquiry Centre at 1-800-567-4224 or visit saskatchewan.ca/forestry.