Dutch Elm Disease is serious fungal disease, often fatal to the elm trees it affects. The disease stems from an Asian fungus, Ophiostoma ulmi, which was accidentally imported into the United States in the 1930’s. The disease is transmitted by elm bark beetles that lay their eggs in dying, weakened, or recently killed elm trees.
When the larvae become full grown, they chew through the bark to exit. If the tree where eggs were initially laid was infected with Dutch Elm Disease, the emerging beetles are likely to carry the fungal spores of the disease on their bodies. These adult beetles then move on to feed on healthy elm trees. During the feeding process, Dutch Elm Disease fungal spores can be transmitted into the originally healthy elm tree. Spraying trees with insecticide in the early spring can help to prohibit beetle feeding, thus slowing the spread of the disease. Prompt removal of dead and dying elm trees is also crucial to reducing the chance for future infection so when the life cycle of the elm bark beetle repeats, eggs are not being laid in infected trees.
The earliest sign of Dutch Elm Disease in a tree is often yellow foliage in the upper canopies of the tree. Premature leaf drop, defoliation, and limb dieback will proceed if left untreated. If you notice any signs of Dutch Elm Disease among your elm trees, take prompt measures and call us for a free consultation to contain the spread of the infection among your trees.