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Famed park elm to get the axe

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Grandma Elm in Assiniboine Park is one of 12 trees that will be cut down after being infected with Dutch elm disease.

JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Grandma Elm in Assiniboine Park is one of 12 trees that will be cut down after being infected with Dutch elm disease. Photo Store

One of Assiniboine Park’s oldest and dearest residents is getting the axe.

On Tuesday, Grandma Elm, will be removed after testing positive for Dutch elm disease. The big tree near the Assiniboine River footbridge is a favourite resting spot for park visitors. The Assiniboine Park Conservancy said chopping it down is a last resort and the right thing to do for the sick old tree and to preserve the health of the younger ones.

"When possible, we use selective pruning and vaccination to try to prevent infection, but sometimes, when the disease has progressed too far, complete removal of the tree is necessary in order to prevent Dutch elm disease from spreading," Kaaren Pearce, director of grounds for the Conservancy, said in a prepared statement.

Twelve trees have been identified as being infected by the disease this year, the conservancy said in a news release. The other diseased trees will be removed as soon as possible.

"Grandma Elm is a very old tree at the end of its natural lifespan and we have been watching it closely for a number of years," said Pearce. "We know Grandma Elm is special and the source of some great memories for park visitors, so we wanted to let people know why we have to remove the tree."

 

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