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The original item was published from 6/24/2015 6:28:26 PM to 7/1/2015 12:00:00 AM.

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Posted on: June 24, 2015

[ARCHIVED] Be Aware of the Hazards of Keeping Firewood from Elm Trees

City Forester Beth Peske asks homeowners to be aware of the hazards of keeping firewood from Elm trees that were damaged during the past weekend’s storm. Currently, the second hatch of Elm bark beetles are active. These new beetles will be attracted to the fresh cut elm wood to lay their eggs in. If they have emerged from a diseased tree, they will create an infected breeding site that will release millions of beetles into the neighborhood when they emerge late this summer or early next fall.

These elm logs will also act as overwintering sites for the beetles when temperatures begin to drop in October. Unless the firewood is debarked, the insulating effect of a firewood pile allows many insects to survive in our frigid environment. Elm bark beetles use elm wood with tightly attached bark for protection from the extreme fluctuations of temperature that can kill many insects. By eliminating elm wood before spring, the over wintering beetles are destroyed and prevented from emerging in the steadily warming temperatures.

Historically, we have experienced large increases in Dutch Elm Disease infected trees following these extreme wind storm events. If we can reduce the breeding sites and overwintering habitat of the Elm bark beetle, we can retain our mature elm tree canopy for many generations. Without this sanitation effort, many more elm trees could be lost than the normal twenty to thirty trees per year.

According to the NDSU Extension Service publication, Dutch Elm Disease, “A few elm logs secreted away by one homeowner who does not understand the importance of the problem, can undo all attempts at thorough sanitation and watchful disease surveillance for an area of several city blocks.”

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