Dutch Elm Disease Hits the F-M Area

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The warmer weather in the metro has some trees showing the signs of Dutch elm disease.

Left untreated, the disease could potentially wipe out the elm tree population.

KVRR’s Brittany Ford joins us to tell us how Fargo forestry is trying to stop the disease.

Alison and TJ, Fargo Forestry is in their 2nd round of marking and cutting down trees to reduce the spread of fungus.

They are expect anywhere between 300 to 500 trees will be infected this year.
10-year Fargo Arborist Mike Olson has already marked 100 trees that will be cut down due to Dutch Elm Disease.

He says what most people don’t understand is that it’s actually a good thing.
Mike Olson, Arborist: “You’re cutting down this tree, but you’re saving that tree right beside and the one in your backyard. So it’s a tradeoff losing one tree versus all of your trees in your yard.”
The spread of the disease is caused by the Elm Bark beetle.

The fungus is carried on their legs, as well as in their eggs which they lay in the bark of the trees.
Mike Olson, Arborist: “In humans drinking things like coffee dehydrates our bodies, in Elm trees that’s exactly what the spread of the fungus is doing cutting off the trees water supply.”
“Shuts down the respiratory system of the tree. You breathe air, the tree breaths water. It causes the tree to shut itself down pretty much”
Olson explains the visible signs of Dutch Elm are welting, dead limbs, and cracked yellow leaves. He can also tell from the bark.
People in the area are worried about losing the benefits of having trees around their home.
Merete Christianson, Resident: “They took down the other tree last year, and now it’s going on here. I think the only thing I’m really worried about is losing the cool shade and stuff like that”

Fargo Forestry says once a tree is infected, it will eventually die.
Without timely removal it could end up damaging cars and homes.

Reporting Live Brittany Ford KVRR News.