Regina battles confirmed cases of Dutch elm disease

The City of Regina crews take down a tree confirmed to have Dutch elm disease. The tree is one of three confirmed cases in the city. (Andrew Benson/CTV News)

Regina has its first confirmed cases of Dutch elm disease in 2021. Currently, there are three confirmed cases in the city, with three more trees still being tested.

“Our first case of Dutch elm disease in the province of Saskatchewan occurred in 1981, so it is officially 40 years of fighting Dutch elm disease in Regina,” said Russell Eirich, the manager of open space services for the City of Regina

While Regina has managed to keep the disease under control throughout the years, Eirich said they need to keep up their fight against the disease.

The city expects roughly 10 trees to die each year from the disease.

“A good Dutch elm disease program will lose approximately one per cent of its trees per year. Considering that Regina has about 45,000 elms, losing 10 trees a year is a pretty good result.”

The disease prevents a tree from getting any water, causing it to die. Eirich said the disease is primarily spread in two different ways.

“First is through beetles,” said Eirich. “The beetle itself isn’t a bad thing, it is the fungus on it’s back. The other way is through root grafting underground. If you have close trees together, the roots will touch and the disease will move through the root system between the trees.

To help prevent the disease, residents are encouraged not to transport firewood into Regina from out of the city.