Dutch Elm Disease

Why is the ailment afflicting elm trees called “Dutch Elm Disease?”

Well according to BioForest Technologies Inc. “a young phytopathologist from the Netherlands named Bea Schwartz first isolated a fungus from dying elms in 1921, which would give rise to the Dutch elm disease moniker. Another Dutch researcher, Christine Buisman, would also be instrumental in showing the disease was, in fact, caused by this fungus.”

Where disease is a rather broad moniker combining two phrases meaning not at ease, it makes one wonder what is it that is making elm trees not at ease?

There are two small fungus which afflict weakened, and dying elm trees. Ophiostoma ulmi and Ophiostoma novo-ulmi are the latin names for this small sac fungus which afflict the elm trees. However, it is not said and done there. There is a little beetle which thinks that this fungus is so very delicious. The The American Phytopathological Society (APS) mentions that “two beetle species spread the pathogens in North America: the smaller European elm bark beetle (Scolytus multistriatus) and the native elm bark beetle (Hylurgopinus rufipes).” The beetles fly around searching out an elm tree afflicted with the fungus on which to lay its eggs. The fungus is necessary to the Dutch Elm Beetle survival. Once the afflicted elm tree is found with the sac fungus growing upon it, the beetle lays its eggs. The eggs hatch and the larva crawl around inside the tree under the bark seeking out more of the yummy fungus, and in the process create tunnels damaging the tree further. The trees feel these larva crawling around and send out a chemical attack to stop. By the time the tree is sending out a plethora of chemical agents to mitigate the Dutch Elm Disease the leaves can be seen wilting and turning yellow at the top of the tree as they are not getting the sap they need to survive, exacerbating and quickening the death of the elm tree. The larva eventually mature into adult beetles make it up to a fork in a branch of the tree, and fly away. As the elm bark beetles make there way through the tunnel galleries, the grooves on their back pick up fungal spores. The beetles carry the fungal spores to the next dead and weakened elm tree, and the process starts again. The fungus spreads to neighbouring elms if their root systems touch underground, thereby weakening the entire grove of elms.

Woodpeckers are indeed the tree and forest surgeons. Hinterland Who’s Who written by the Environment and Climate Change Canada & Canadian Wildlife Federation state that Downy woodpeckers “help suppress bark beetle infestations. During the 1950s and 1960s, the Downy Woodpecker in eastern North America fed extensively on the elm bark beetle.”

The other thing which will help our Elm Trees is to keep it healthy. Not raking the elm tree leaves will help the tree with proper nutrients from the detritus and leaf mould, and keeping the elm tree properly watered will reduce additional stresses on it, and a healthy tree will be better able to withstand disease. The sac fungus does not thrive on a healthy Elm Tree.

Another very important aspect for Dutch Elm Disease prevention is to follow proper elm tree cutting, and pruning protocols. The City of Saskatoon and the province of Saskatchewan have great resources for expounding upon the Elm pruning ban April 1 to August 31. All Elm wood must go directly to the land fill following pruning for proper disposal.

It is very important not to help the Dutch Elm Beetle spread the fungal spores. So transporting cut Elm firewood, will mean that a person in a truck will carry the fungal spores greater distances and quicker than the small dutch elm beetle. Elm firewood, being dead elm is a great home for the sac fungus, and therefore is a great incentive to attract the Dutch Elm Beetle.

Richard St. Barbe Baker was not a tree surgeon looking for Dutch Elm Beetles, but rather he was a special kind of forester known as a silviculturist, a doctor of forests. He is responsible for planting billions of trees worldwide through groups he created and his actions. Other people were inspired by Richard St. Barbe Baker and initiated their own tree planting campaigns such as Wangari Maathai who carried on the afforestation project in the Sahara Desert.

Plans to protect air and water, wilderness and wildlife are in fact plans to protect man.”

—Stewart Udall


For directions as to how to drive to “George Genereux” Urban Regional Park
For directions on how to drive to Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
For more information:
Blairmore Sector Plan Report; planning for the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area,  George Genereux Urban Regional Park and West Swale and areas around them inside of Saskatoon city limits
NEW P4G District Official Community Plan
DRAFT P4G Saskatoon North Partnership for Growth The P4G consists of the Cities of Saskatoon, Warman, and Martensville, the Town of Osler and the Rural Municipality of Corman Park; planning for areas around the afforestation area and West Swale outside of Saskatoon city limits
Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area is located in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada north of Cedar Villa Road, within city limits, in the furthest south west area of the city. 52° 06′ 106° 45′
Part SE 23-36-6 – Afforestation Area – 241 Township Road 362-A
Part SW 23-36-6 – SW Off-Leash Recreation Area (Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area ) – 355 Township Road 362-A
S ½ 22-36-6 Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area (West of SW OLRA) – 467 Township Road 362-A
NE 21-36-6 “George Genereux” Afforestation Area – 133 Range Road 3063
Wikimapia Map: type in Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Google Maps South West Off Leash area location pin at parking lot
Web page: https://stbarbebaker.wordpress.com
Where is the Richard St. Barbe Baker Afforestation Area? with map
Where is the George Genereux Urban Regional Park (Afforestation Area)? with map
Pinterest richardstbarbeb
Facebook Group Page: Users of the George Genereux Urban Regional Park
Facebook: StBarbeBaker
Facebook group page : Users of the St Barbe Baker Afforestation Area
Facebook: South West OLRA
Twitter: StBarbeBaker Please help protect / enhance your afforestation areas, please contact the Friends of the Saskatoon Afforestation Areas Inc. (e-mail / e-transfers ) Support the afforestation areas with your donation or membership ($20.00/year).  Please donate by paypal using the e-mail friendsafforestation AT gmail.com, or by using e-transfers to the same email. Please and thank you!  Your donation and membership is greatly appreciated.  Members e-mail your contact information to be kept up to date! Canada Helps
1./ Learn.
2./ Experience
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“The future of the planet concerns all of us, and all of us should do what we can to protect it. ” Wangari Maathai.
“The science of forestry arose from the recognition of a universal need. It embodies the spirit of service to mankind in attempting to provide a means of supplying forever a necessity of life and, in addition, ministering to man’s aesthetic tastes and recreational interests. Besides, the spiritual side of human nature needs the refreshing inspiration which comes from trees and woodlands. If a nations saves its trees, the trees will save the nation. And nations as well as tribes may be brought together in this great movement, based on the ideal of beautifying the world by the cultivation of one of God’s loveliest creatures – the tree.” ~ Richard St. Barbe Baker

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