Organizers of a recent event at Elmwood Cemetery say they hope it will ensure elm trees continue to flourish at the site for years to come.
A total of 96 Elm trees at the cemetery were lost to Dutch elm during the past three years, leaving 520 remaining trees at risk.
The Friends of Elmwood Cemetery Inc., a not-for-profit organization launched in 1998 which is dedicated to the restoration, reforestation and beautification of the grounds, organized the Oct. 20 event with the help from the prairie chapter of the International Society of Arboriculture.
Society members include Alliance Tree Care, Parkland Tree Care Ltd. treewise, Trilogy Tree, Timberland Tree Service, Tree Life, Trees Winnipeg. Green Drop Tree Care, and the City of Winnipeg.
Volunteers visited the cemetery to prune the trees as part of an effort to get rid of dead branches where Dutch beetles hibernate.
Local ISA members also provided educational booths with information on reforestation and plans for elm tree preservation at the cemetery.
Robert Filuk , executive director of the Friends of Elmwood Cemetery, said the trees are an important part of the cemetery.
"It would change the landscape immensely without the trees. They add to the splendor of Elmwood and add comfort and ambiance," Filuk said, adding that there are more than 52,000 people buried at the cemetery.
"The majority of the trees are elms. If you lose all of them what do you have?"
Filuk said basal spray had been previously applied to the trees in an effort to protect them, but with limited resources the group couldn’t do anything more until the ISA came forward.
"We have sprayed all of the trees, but you still need to do that second step. To get all these companies to prune all these trees is a cost we can’t afford," he said.
"We want to maintain it as long as possible. This cemetery is over 100 years old."
Matt Vinet, director of the ISA’s prairie chapter and a manager with Green Drop, said the group is trying to protect the trees so they have a better chance to survive.
"Being in the profession I’m in it alarms me when I walk through (the cemetery) and I see red dots on the trees designating removal for Dutch elm disease," said Vinet, who has lived in Elmwood for 20 years.
"Our chapter, what we do in Manitoba, we do a few things like this to help preserve the trees. If they’re not pruned, that’s the quickest way for Dutch elm disease to move into a tree."
Filuk said the day of service wouldn’t be possible without the groups coming together to help.
"Without Matt organizing it and members donating their time it wouldn’t be possible," Filuk said.
"We just want to say thank you."