a tree doctor holding a diseased tree in Edmonton

Get to Know Your Local Bylaws & Help Keep Dutch Elm Diseases

Dutch elm disease is a deadly tree disease that affects elm trees all over the world. If your tree is infected, Edmonton bylaws allow the pruning of elms between October 1 and March 31 each year.

First identified in Europe in the 1920s and introduced to North America in the 1930s, Dutch elm disease is a fungus spread by elm bark beetles that reproduce and feed off the inside layers of elm tree bark.


Alberta has the largest disease-free strands of elm trees in North America. However, elm bark beetles have started to appear in the province, so many preventative regulations have been put in place to protect our trees. Here’s what you should know about Dutch elm disease and what you can do to stop it from spreading in Alberta.


How to spot Dutch elm disease

If you have elm trees on your property or on your street, watch for these signs of Dutch elm disease.

  • Trees infected in early summer:
    • Leaves will droop, curl and eventually turn brown but stay on the branch
  •  Trees infected later in the summer: 
    • Leaves will yellow, wilt and eventually fall prematurely 
  • All infected trees:
    • Brown stains on the wood can be seen when the bark is peeled back
    • Beetle emergence holes about as thick as pencil lead will appear along with sawdust on the bark

How & When to take care of your elm

Edmonton has bylaws regulating the removal, pruning, planting and sale of elm trees. These rules help protect the city from Dutch elm disease. Please note that it is considered illegal to prune elm trees between the period of April 1-September 30.


Pruning must be done between October 1 and March 31, when elm bark beetles are not active. Elm trees can be removed at any time, but the stump must be removed to a depth of at least 10 centimetres below the ground. If your tree was damaged in a storm, or needs emergency pruning or trimming for any other reason during the elm-pruning ban, written consent must be obtained from the city. All elm wood must be disposed of properly. It’s illegal in Alberta to store or transport elm as firewood because the disease can easily spread.


Take Action – Call Edmonton’s All Season Tree Service 

If you believe you have an infected elm tree, it’s important to call a tree service right away. Taking immediate action is the only way we can keep Alberta free from Dutch elm disease. All Season Tree Service provides pruning, trimming and removal services all over Edmonton and the surrounding areas. Call us today if you suspect one of your trees has this or any other tree disease.

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