Dutch Elm Disease

What is Dutch Elm Disease?

Dutch elm disease (DED) is a lethal fungal disease of native North American elms.  The fungi that cause DED entered the United States early in the 1900’s on elm logs from Europe.  Dutch elm disease now occurs throughout the U.S. and has led to the loss of the American elm as the premier street tree.

What does Dutch Elm Disease look like?

Wilting leaves, often on a single branch, are the first symptoms of DED. Yellowing of leaves and leaf drop follow. Trees may quickly lose all of their leaves, or trees may survive several years with an infection localized in a single branch. Infected branches often have brown streaks under the bark that follow the wood grain.

How do I save a tree affected by Dutch Elm Disease? 

Total removal of infected elms is the preferred method of managing DED. Prior to removal, disrupt root grafts between infected elms and other nearby elms. Destroy wood from diseased elms by burning or burying. If you decide to keep the wood, remove the bark, then pile the wood in one place and cover it with a heavy tarp, burying the tarp edges with soil, until the wood is used.