Dutch elm disease has greatly reduced the number of elm trees that you see in North America. However, if you are vigilant, you can stop Dutch elm disease by using preventative measures at the first sign of the disease in your trees.
Signs To Look For
The first thing you will notice is that the leaves on the top of your elm tree will begin to wilt out of season. They generally will turn yellow and then dry out and turn brown long before fall hits. This is when you need to act. At the first sign of wilting or yellowing leaves on your elm tree, you need to swing into action.
Pruning Away The Diseased Branches On Your Elm Tree
At the first sign of Dutch elm disease, you need to prune your trees or call in a professional tree service to prune your trees. If you act fast enough, you may be able to save your tree and prevent the disease from spreading to other elm trees on your property and in the area.
The infection needs to be new in order for pruning to work. Additionally, only the upper crown of your elm can be infected for this method to work. If the disease has spread beyond the upper crown of your tree, pruning will be ineffective at stopping the disease.
You will need to cut off all branches that have infected leaves on them. You should also pull back the bark to see how the disease has spread. If the bark has brown water veins, then it has become infested with the disease.
Try to cut at least five to ten feet extra from where you think the disease is located on the tree. This extra space will help ensure that you get rid of all infection in the branches. If you want to be really through, you will cut all nearby branches as well.
You will also need to use pruning paint on all of your cuts. Pruning paint seals up the cuts, and keeps elm bark beetles away from your tree's wounds. This is an important step because elm bark beetles can infect your tree.
Spraying Your Elm Tree With Insecticide
You will want to keep elm bark beetles away from your tree after you prune it. After you have painted up over any cuts you made, you should also spray your elm with insecticide. Although this works best at the start of spring to keep the beetles away from your tree altogether, it can still be an effective method of fighting them off once they are present.
Give Your Elm Tree Fungicide Injections
Finally, after you have pruned away the diseased and infected branches and sprayed insecticide on your tree, you should inject it with fungicide. Fungicide can strength your tree's immune system and help it fight off this invader. Fungicide can be expensive, and can harm your tree if not injected correctly. It is best to contact a tree specialist and have them inject your tree with fungicide.
If you notice one of your elm trees is exhibiting signs of Dutch elm disease, you have to act fast if you want to save the tree. You will need to prune away infected branches, spray the tree with insecticide to discourse elm bark beetles, and provide the tree with fungicide injections to strength its defenses. Even with a solid attack, the disease may still spread. If it does, you or a company like Darrel Emel's Tree Service should remove the tree to prevent the disease from spreading more in your area.