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Drought, pest infestation, pollution forcing removal of Whyte Avenue elm trees

Elm trees on Whyte Avenue are being removed after 70 years on one of Edmonton's most popular streets, May 11, 2015.
Elm trees on Whyte Avenue are being removed after 70 years on one of Edmonton's most popular streets, May 11, 2015. Morris Gamblin, Global News

EDMONTON — Some American Elm trees that have been a fixture for 70 years on Whyte Avenue are being removed.

The City of Edmonton is taking out 26 of the trees on the median between 96 and 99 Street due to declining health caused by drought, pest infestation, and pollution from traffic and construction.

“There’s a lot of dead wood up in the trees and the growth that’s on them is more reactionary growth, so we don’t have good branch structure left in the trees,” explained Bonnie Fermanuik, City of Edmonton.

READ MORE: Funding for Alberta trees damaged, destroyed by snow storms and floods

The trees will be replaced with 45 elm trees in September. Median construction and repaving of the three-block stretch on Whyte Avenue will take place from June to August.

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“New trees we put in is going to be a single row, get them away from the traffic. Hopefully then they have a better chance of avoiding damages,” said Fermanuik.

READ MORE: City investigating unauthorized tree removal near River Valley

There will be traffic disruptions between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. while the work is completed.

The removal, construction and replanting will conclude a project that started in 2010.

The City said it’s committed to urban forest care, preservation and expansion by replanting all trees.

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