American Elm Trees in Central Park

Dutch Elm Disease: The Decline of the American Elm

The American elm was once a favorite shade tree, gracefully lining the streets of towns across the country. Sadly, the Dutch Elm Disease has largely eliminated this iconic tree from its once present landscape.

Originating in the Netherlands, Dutch Elm Disease (DED) made its first appearance in North America in 1928 and targets, you guessed it, elms. All native elms are susceptible to this disease.

DED is result of an infection spread by a small beetle, the elm bark beetle. It is a very destructive shade tree disease and is common throughout the US. The fungus spread by the beetle infects the tree’s vascular system as well as impedes the flow of water and sugar within the tree.

Signs to watch for:

– Tree top & outer layer discoloration

– Crown dieback

– Leaf wilting and yellowing

– Premature leaf drop

Unfortunately, this disease can eventually kill your tree. DED killed 75% of North American elms in the first 50 years of its introduction to our country. The best practice to keep trees healthy is to quickly detect any presence of this disease.

If you have concerns about your elm trees, please contact our ISA Certified Arborists. They are expertly trained, licensed, and experienced in diagnosing and treating insects and diseases and can customize a plan to keep your yard healthy year-round!

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