Who's killing our trees?
August 21, 2005 9:36 PM   Subscribe

Who's killing our trees in Minneapolis?

Or more specifically, why? Over the last few weeks, many of our favorite trees in the Loring Park neighborhood have been sporting orange spray-paint rings with the letter "R", and then they've been systematically removed. These are some of the oldest, best-established trees we've got around here, and they all look pretty healthy except for a bare branch or two. So I'm assuming it's some sort of nasty tree plague, but I'd like to know the specifics, especially why the only treatment seems to be euthanasia as soon as symptoms appear...
posted by squidlarkin to Home & Garden (3 answers total)
Best answer: The trees you're referencing are probably succumbing to Dutch Elm disease. Don't look at the bottom of the trees, look at the top--you'll probably see dead branches and wilted leaves. These trees need to go, or others nearby may suffer as well.

The stripe around the tree identifies it as a tree that's going to be removed. The letter "R" references the tree inspector who decided the tree has to go. (If you drive around the city, you'll see other trees circled with the stripe, but with different letters designating different tree inspectors.)
posted by mrbula at 9:43 PM on August 21, 2005

Response by poster: Hmm, yes. I probably should have googled that. From this link:

In addition, because of their position, the infections arising from native elm bark beetle inoculations have a head start in spreading through the tree. Frequently, by the time first symptoms are noted, the fungus has already reached scaffold branches or the main trunk of the tree; this renders therapeutic pruning impossible and chemical therapy unlikely to succeed. Most of the beetle-involved DED infections in North Dakota cities have been the native elm bark beetle type. For this reason, use of therapeutic treatments for infected trees often is not effective and is not recommended.

which fits with what I've seen, and would explain why they aren't trying to save the trees (or at least not the ones that are already infected).
posted by squidlarkin at 5:32 AM on August 22, 2005

Tree inspectors in the metro area are being very careful about removing these old elms after last year's major losses at the fairgrounds.

Star Tribune story cache here
posted by norm at 9:36 AM on August 22, 2005

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