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Extension > Yard and Garden News > Dutch elm disease active now

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Dutch elm disease active now

M. Grabowski, UMN Extension

Leaves turn yellow, then brown and wilt on a Dutch
elm disease infected elm tree.
M. Grabowski,  UMN Extension 
Although not as common as they once were, many American elm trees can still be found throughout Minnesota.  In late spring and early summer the first symptoms of Dutch elm disease begin to appear. Gardeners with elm trees on their properties should watch for leaves that wilt, turn yellow, and then brown. This may happen to leaves on just one branch or on multiple branches throughout the canopy. Leaves may fall off the tree and be scattered on the lawn below.

It is important to react quickly if symptoms of Dutch elm disease appear. The infection can be pruned out if the fungus has not yet reached the main trunk of the tree. This requires pruning out the infected branch 5 to 10 feet below symptoms of the infection to be successful. Gardeners that suspect Dutch elm disease should contact a certified arborist to inspect the tree and submit a sample for diagnosis to the UMN Plant Disease Clinic.


Young Accolade elm in a landscape. This tree
is Dutch elm disease resistant.
M. Grabowski, UMN Extension 

There are many varieties of elm that are resistant or tolerant of Dutch elm disease that are now available in nurseries. Gardeners looking for a new shade tree should consider planting an elm with Dutch elm disease resistance. Elms are fast growing, resilient trees that tolerate many common stress factors found in urban sites. 

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