Dutch elm disease is under control
Hinsdale Forester John Finnell shows the stump of a green ash on Garfield Avenue near 55th Street that was cut down because it was infested with emerald ash borer. | Kimberly Fornek—Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 7, 2012 6:34AM
HINSDALE —The village has been treating its elm trees with a chemical to prevent Dutch Elm disease for years, with results to show its effectiveness, forester John Finnell said.
Hinsdale paid Landscape Concepts Management about $91,100 this year to inject 324 American elms with the fungicide Arbortect, which offers three years of effectiveness.
Dutch elm is caused by a fungus which moves from tree to tree via elm bark beetles or by the roots of an infected tree grafting onto roots from a nearby tree.
In 1958, before the disease had started to spread, Hinsdale had more than 7,000 American elms, Finnell said. The count is currently about 1,500, but “since 2007, we have really dramatically reduced the number of elms we lose to Dutch Elm,” Finnell said.
“We used to lose 150 to 200 American elms a year,” Finnell said. “This year we lost 26, and that was a lot. In 2011, we lost 12 and the year before that it was 13.”
Other factors that helped reduced the spread of Dutch elm are there simply are fewer American elms around and the village removes diseased trees quickly before the fungus can spread.
The preventative insecticide treatments were found not effective on English elms. Finnell reported 84 English elms, mostly in the Woodlands area, were treated in 2009. Since then, 64 have died from Dutch elm disease, “adverse effects” of the insecticide, storms or other causes.