Dutch Elm Disease
The discovery of Dutch Elm Disease (DED) in Fargo in 1974 led to the creation of the Fargo Forestry Department. The disease disrupts the vascular system of the tree, causing it to die from a lack of water. DED is transported to nearby trees in two ways: 1) when roots from two trees join together, and 2) when elm bark beetles carry spores of the disease with them.
Management of this disease starts each year when the Fargo Forestry Department inspects home firewood piles in March. Beetles live under elm wood bark during the winter, then breed there in the spring. Piles containing elm wood either need to be debarked, burned or hauled to the landfill for chipping.
The second part of our management system is to conduct surveys to find diseased trees as soon as possible. Prompt removal is the only way to deal with infected trees.
Tree injection systems that help the tree fight off DED have been around for more than 15 years. They are 95% effective, but are costly and need to be reapplied every one to three years, depending upon the product used. Only high value, specimen trees are recommended for treatment. At this time, the City of Fargo does not treat any of the elms on public property with injections.