Friday 10 June 2005

The Problem With Elm Firewood

Things are happening in your wood pile that you may not be aware of!

That branch from your elm tree that broke off in last winter’s storm or the wood you brought in from the farm may be endangering our stately elms. Drying elm wood gives off a chemical perfume, or pheromone that acts as a beacon for female elm bark beetles. The North American elm bark beetle uses dead or dying elm trees as a site to lay large numbers of eggs. Fresh elm firewood is the perfect place for this egg laying to take place.

But my tree didn’t have Dutch elm disease, so it should be fine”. The problem is that beetles can be attracted to your firewood from as far as eight kilometers, and if they came from a tree that was infected, all of the thirty offspring from that one beetle will spread Dutch elm disease. A standing dead 12 “tree can produce thirty thousand beetles as it dries out.

Dutch elm disease arrived in North America in the late 1940's from Europe in shipments of raw elm logs. Since that time it has spread west from New York State. Many people may remember a large camper caravan that passed through Southern Manitoba in the mid seventies. The campers stopped in Minnesota on the way and brought elm firewood with them. The next year Selkirk, Winnipeg and Brandon all had their first cases of Dutch elm disease. Many new cases of Dutch elm disease are associated with piles of drying elm firewood. Act now to help protect our stately elms. Check your wood pile for elm wood. If you not sure what to look for, or suspect you may have elm wood, contact your local arborist, or The Provincial Dutch Elm Disease program. Both can advise you on the correct method of disposal for elm firewood. Don’t delay as the new beetles will be emerging in the next few weeks.

If you see some thing suspicious and are in a town that is part of the Provincial Dutch Elm Disease program contact your town office. The Provincial Dutch Elm disease survey crew can be contacted at 1-204-726-6444. Contact an I.S.A. Certified Arborist for the complete story on Dutch elm disease and recommended measures to prolong the life of your graceful elms.