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Kildonan Park loses 100 trees to Dutch elm disease

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Martha Barwinsky near one of the stumps of an elm tree along the river at Kildonan Park that have been recently cut down because of disease.

WAYNE GLOWACKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Martha Barwinsky near one of the stumps of an elm tree along the river at Kildonan Park that have been recently cut down because of disease. Photo Store

City crews had their hands full at Kildonan Park cutting down 100 American elms after a spike in Dutch elm disease.

Another 65 different species of trees have also seen the bite of the chain saw in the last few weeks.

"With the 100, that’s probably the largest number of elms we’ve removed from the park in a number of years," city forester Martha Barwinsky said.

The city is about to start a major reforestation effort, with plans this year to plant 100 new trees at the popular park off Main Street. But none of them will be American elms.

Across North America, Dutch Elm disease - a fungi spread by the elm bark beetle -- has decimated the urban elm forests in one city after another.

As a result the new trees planted this year will be native species, such as Manitoba maples and burr oak, as well as ornamentals including Japanese lilac, all in an effort to diversify the city’s urban forest, Barwinsky said.

Winnipeg has been praised over the years for successful management of Dutch Elm disease. In an average year, Winnipeg sees 1.5 percent of elm trees cut down due to the disease. A survey last summer identified 3.7 per cent of the elms at the park as infected.

 

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