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City of Moose Jaw reminds residents to protect their trees

Homeowners are once again asked to halt the spread of Dutch elm disease in Saskatchewan by following a pruning ban.
The City of Moose Jaw is reminding residents that cankerworm season is almost here. File / Global News

The City of Moose Jaw is reminding residents that cankerworm season is almost here.

Anyone who banded trees in the fall is encouraged to re-grease them.

The grease prevents the female cankerworm moths from crawling up the tree trunks and laying their eggs, which typically happens in both late fall and early spring.

If you did not band your trees, it is not too late. The City of Moose Jaw has some simple steps to get you through the process:

  • All elm, Manitoba maple and fruit trees on or adjacent to your property should be banded.
  • Wrap a four to six-inch wide strip of fiberglass insulation around the trunk – about five feet off the ground, out of reach of pets and young children.
  • Cover the insulation with a sheet of plastic wrap or cling wrap. Allow serval inches of plastic above and below the insulation. A black plastic garbage bag will do.
  • If you are using plastic wrap or a garbage bag, tape the plastic to the tree with duct tape. If you are using cling wrap then the duct tape is not required. Do not use nails or stakes.
  • Spread a layer of a sticky substance, such as axle grease or petroleum jelly on the plastic.
  • Inspect the sticky material regularly and remove leaves, insects and other debris and reapply sticky material if required.
  • Bands should be removed by mid-May and no later than mid-June. Removing the bands prevents damage or discoloration of the bark.
  • Bands should be reapplied in September for control of fall cankerworms.
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The city is also sending reminders to residents that the elm tree pruning ban is in effect from April 1 to August 31 in the province.

Between this time period, it is illegal to prune elm trees. All elm wood must be disposed of at the city landfill. In order to dispose of the wood, you need a disposal permit which can be obtained from Moose Jaw’s Parks & Recreation Department for free.

Elm bark beetles play a critical role in transmitting Dutch Elm Disease and are attracted to pruning wounds. The beetle is the main carrier of the fungus and travels from infected trees to deposit their eggs to healthy trees to feed. They fly from tree-to-tree and deliver spores of the fungus in a very effective manner.

Sarah Regent, City of Moose Jaw Parks Gardener, explains “In 2017, the City of Moose Jaw had 10 positive cases of Dutch Elm Disease. Elms account for some of the most valuable trees in our city. Help protect our elm tree population by adhering to the pruning ban and do not store or transport elm wood.”