New strategy needed to fight Dutch elm disease in Winnipeg

City administrators warn Winnipeg is at risk of losing its elm tree canopy.

A report released Thursday states the city might not be able to manage Dutch elm disease if it continues to lose two per cent of its trees every year.

It estimates the American elm trees that line the city's boulevards and parks are worth more than $806 million.

City foresters in Winnipeg, which has one of the largest elm tree populations in North America, have been waging war on the disease for 37 years.

In September, city administrators said they marked about 4,800 elms for removal due to the disease, which is about 1,000 fewer trees than last year.

The report recommends Winnipeg come up with a new strategy for battling the disease — a strategy that includes asking the province to split the $1.9 million cost of planting new trees and controlling the elm bark beetle.

The public works committee considers the plan at a meeting next week.

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