May 13, 2014 5:40 pm

Downtown Calgary trees get the axe

City crews are removing more than 50 sick elm trees along Stephen Avenue downtown.

The non-native Brandon elms, planted 15 years ago between Centre Street and 2nd Street S.E., have been under attack on two fronts.

They’re suffering from elm scale- a common and longstanding problem across the city, but they have an added challenge because they were planted in concrete containers.

“They have limited resources,” explains Jill-Anne Spence, an urban forestry employee with the City of Calgary. “They have limited access to water and nutrients.”

That’s left the trees susceptible to a new menace: bacterial leaf scorch. It clogs the trees’ pores, causing them to die of thirst.

Crews are using an auger to grind out the roots of the elm trees.

Global News

Crews are using an auger to grind up the tree roots. They are then using hydro-vacs to suck up the wood from the concrete vaults.

The elms will be replaced with locally-sourced white ash trees, which are a hardy breed the city hopes stand a better chance of surviving in downtown’s concrete jungle.


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