As elm season approaches, Swift Current is encouraging residents to keep the City's trees healthy.

The Government of Saskatchewan enacts a ban on pruning elm trees from April 1 to August 31 each year to prevent the spread of elm bark beetles.

Elm bark beetles, spreaders of the tree-killing Dutch elm disease, are attracted to cuts to elm trees.

The April to August portion of the year is the time when the beetles are most active.

The City of Swift Current has a high population of elm trees, making the City's urban forests hang in the balance of preventing the spread of the insects.

Swift Current is outside of the elm beetle's known area of yearly detection, but the ban helps to prevent the spread.

Michael Newell, the parks manager with the City of Swift Current, gave more information on the tree illness spread by the bugs.

"It stops the spread of the infection if it's present anywhere within the city. The infection is a fungal disease that is spread by bark beetles, by their larva."

Trees infected by the disease will die with almost 100 per cent certainty.

The province bans the transportation of elm wood, as well as the use of elm trees as firewood to combat the disease-carrying bugs.

Another tree frequent to Swift Current is the ash tree, which is also prone to infection from the emerald ash borer.

The borer attacks ash trees and can also lead to the death of the plant.

The borer was detected in Winnipeg, MB, in 2017, but is not believed to be in Saskatchewan.

Any elm wood that you may possess, you can take it to the Swift Current Landfill where it is either burnt or buried.

Newell adds that the wood is ineligible for the City's composting program due it its infection-spreading nature.

"The people at the compost sites might not know what to look for, it has to go directly to the landfill and then you have to instruct them and then they will make sure it's buried and not chipped with the other compost material."

Pruning work is permitted on trees that may have had damage from wind or any other natural causes, and must be disposed of safely disposed of.

The City of Swift Current bears the costs of removal of infected trees on their property, while the property owner is responsible for the removal of their trees.

The City does, however, offer consultations on trees that need removal.

The Ministry of Agriculture offers free testing for the disease in Saskatchewan.