The annual ban on pruning elm trees in Saskatchewan begins April 1 and continues until August 31. This is when the elm bark beetles that spread Dutch elm disease (DED) are most active. Fresh cuts from pruning can attract the insects, increasing the chance of a DED infection.
Prune your elms before or after the ban period to keep them healthy and more resistant to all diseases, including DED. Removing dead and dying elm wood also means fewer sites for beetles to breed, and fewer beetles. Remove and dispose of DED-infected elms promptly throughout the year, including during the ban period.
Because of the danger of spreading DED, it is illegal to use, transport, store or sell elm firewood. The use, transport, storage and sale of elm logs are also restricted. Dispose of elm wood promptly; check with your municipal authority for preferred disposal methods and locations.
If you decide to hire someone to prune your trees, check their qualifications. By law, commercial pruners of elm trees in Saskatchewan must complete a recognized training program or be under the supervision of someone who has. Pruning improperly can spread DED and other tree diseases.
For more information, call your local municipality or the Ministry of Environment at 1-800-567-4224.