August 20, 2014

Forestry specialist addresses elm disease

By GABLE RHOADS

Concerned with the number of dead and dying elm trees in the park, McClusky Mayor Roberta Hunt called the ND Forest Service for help. Joel Nichols, Community Forestry Specialist from Bismarck, agreed to travel to McClusky and inspect the trees.

Nichols saw 10-12 dead or dying elm trees in the park, and he observed many more dead or distressed elm trees on residential property. It did not take long for him to make a diagnosis of the problem – Dutch elm disease. Nichols agreed to speak to the McClusky citizens and council about this disease at the August 11, 2014 City Council meeting.

Nichols said Dutch elm disease was first seen in North Dakota in 1969. The disease was first discovered in Holland in 1920.

Since spreading to North America, the disease has killed the majority of native elm trees in the United States. Some species of elm are resistant to Dutch elm disease, but none are totally immune to it.

Dutch elm disease is caused by two types of fungi that are spread by either bark beetles or by the grafting of roots of a diseased elm to another. The disease travels along the vascular system of the trees, plugging the "veins" and eventually causing death.


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