As the winter months begin to fade and spring begins to settle into the province, the annual ban on pruning elm trees also comes back into play. 

The ban, which is put in place to help stop the spread of Dutch elm disease in the American and Siberian Elm tree population, goes into effect on April 1. 

Parks Manager with the City of Swift Current, Michael Newell, explained that the main source for the spread of Dutch Elm Disease is Elm bark beetles, which are the most active during the months the ban is active. 

“That's when they are active and they're moving around,” he elaborated. “So, they will move from where they might have wintered in an existing Elm, to any Elm tree that has cut or wound in it. So that's why there's no pruning of the Elm trees at that time. 

Newell added that stopping the movement of the Elm bark beetle is essential to keeping Elm trees in the province alive and healthy. 

“The disease has a 100 percent fatality rate,” he stated, “Once the tree is infected, our first move as a municipality is to remove the tree and dispose of it properly. There is no inoculation or way to save the tree by cutting back dead branches, and we want to ensure that the Elm bark beetle doesn't have a place to flourish. So, it's basically to try and slow down any movement of the insect itself.” 

Residents should also be aware of rules and regulations when it comes to disposing of Elmwood. 

Any wood cut from Elm trees cannot be saved or stored for firewood or any other type of wood application. 

In Swift Current, Elm wood can be disposed of at the landfill, Newell added. 

“You would take it there and would notify them, then they would make sure it gets buried because we don't want it included in the mulching program that they do it there,” he concluded. 

The ban will stay in effect until August 31.