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Research is being done to improve outcomes in the fight against dutch elm disease in Winnipeg.

 

The city and the University of Winnipeg are collaborating on a project to find and quickly remove "super-brood trees" in select parts of the city. Brood trees are where female elm bark beetles lay their eggs, and the super ones show exceptionally high numbers of beetles.

City of Winnipeg forester Martha Barwinsky says the hypothesis is by targetting those trees for rapid removal, over time, we can reduce the incidence of dutch elm disease.

She says the city is behind on its dutch elm disease removals.

 

 

Barwinsky says over the past five years they've averaged about 5,600 removals per year.

The brood tree pilot project will cost $30,000. It gets underway this summer and will run for three years. It will be conducted in areas of the city with a high density of urban elm trees on both public and private property, including select parts of the Wolseley, Wellington Crescent and Crescentwood neighbourhoods.

The research includes identifying super-brood trees, rapidly removing about 20 per cent of the worst of them, and figuring out how to logistically do that during the summer. Typically, most dutch elm diseased trees are removed during the fall and winter. Barwinsky says rapid removely is really the best practice, but 1) there are too many trees to remove and 2) without ice on the river and the ground frozen some trees are difficult to access.

 

 

She says Wellington Crescent will have some challenges because of the riverbank.

The project also includes an assessment component, to see how effective the work is.