About Year of the Elm Tree

Trees Winnipeg is pleased to announce we are designating 2021 as the Year of the Elm Tree and launching a public-education campaign. Currently, Winnipeg still has the largest urban population of American elm trees of any city in North America and possibly the world.

Dutch elm disease (DED) was first detected here in 1975, when Winnipeg’s American elm tree population was as high as 275,000. Now, DED incidence rates are skyrocketing. According to the City of Winnipeg, since 2016, we have lost more than 33,000 elm trees to the disease. That is the equivalent of losing all the trees on 330 city blocks in just 5 years (as on average, there are about 100 elm trees per Winnipeg block).  

To Come: Activities, Events, and a Contest

Trees Winnipeg's year-long Year of the Elm Tree campaign aims to get timely and simple elm tree care information and tips into Winnipeggers' hands to help stop the spread of DED. Throughout the year, we will be offering activities, events, and a contest. Watch this page, follow our social media channels, and use the hashtag #YOTET2021.

DED is highly contagious, and quick removal of all infected trees is vital. Unfortunately, significant delays in removing the tagged elms, inadequate budget allocation, misinformation, and other factors have caused DED infection rates to skyrocket in recent years.

The public perception is that DED continues to be adequately managed in Winnipeg, that tree banding prevents the spread, and that the City of Winnipeg is solely responsible for monitoring and caring for public trees. These assumptions are outdated and are partly to blame for why we're quickly losing the fight against DED.

We must shift our thinking to a universal tree-care approach. The simple act of regularly watering an elm on a city boulevard could give it the edge it needs to survive, which in turn will help protect any surrounding elms – including the ones on your property. Similarly, the elm bark beetle doesn't care about property lines; it thrives in our backyards, our parks, our boulevards, and in that illegal pile of elm wood in your yard.

Trees are the great connectors and equalizers in our neighbourhoods and elm trees, which are one of Winnipeg's old-growth forest trees, are no different. Trees and their networks serve all Winnipeggers aesthetically, spiritually, financially, and environmentally, irrespective of public and private property lines. Elm trees are some of Winnipeg's tallest and largest old-growth forest trees. By adopting the same philosophy and networking, we can protect and save our remaining elm trees for all Winnipeggers. The time to act is now.

For more information on DED, please visit our dedicated page or the City of Winnipeg’s DED page.

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