Winnipeg trying to cut backlog of Dutch elm disease tree removals

File / Global News

The City of Winnipeg is funneling more money into cutting down on the list of trees with Dutch elm disease that need to be removed.

In the 2018 proposed budget, the city wants to spend $4.6 million to remove more trees next year.

Between initiatives to identify, prune, remove and replace diseased trees, the city expects to spend $18.7 million.

In May the city had about 1,500 trees on the waiting list from the last two years to be removed, according to Martha Barwinsky, the city’s forester.

“We are losing on average, anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 trees a year over the past five years,” Barwinsky said at the time. “It’s a crazy amount of trees.”

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In 2014 there were 5,257 trees removed with Dutch elm disease across the city, in 2015 it dropped to 4,849 and in 2016 it climbed to 6,123 trees cut down with the disease.

Dutch elm disease is a fungal disease that is spread by bark beetles, according to Tree Canada.

The city is also involved in a replanting program called the ReLeaf Tree Planting Program.

Homeowners can get a new tree for $55 after taking part in a workshop learning how to care for the plant.

The program is closed for 2017 but will be starting up again in the spring.

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