A giant American elm tree that lived on Commonwealth Avenue Mall between Dartmouth and Exeter Streets for more than 100 years had to be removed due to Dutch elm disease on Tuesday, June 17. The Friends remain vigilant in treating the elms in our parks against this disease, in order to protect the elm tree population. For almost roughly 150 years, trees have been a treasured sight on this historic promenade and in 2013, for the first time in more than 43 years, each planting location on the Mall had a tree. Originally all the trees on the Mall were elms, and the population was ravaged by the disease. They have been replaced with a variety of trees of similar scale and profile, including disease-resistant elms.
Dutch elm disease has been affecting the U.S. elm population since the 1930’s. The disease can kill an entire elm tree anywhere from weeks to years. The disease is brought on by a fungus that is distributed by the Elm Bark Beetle or via a root graft infection.
Signs of Dutch Elm Disease
• Sudden wilting of leaves in branches
• Curling and yellowing leaves
• Branch die-back
When to spot infections
• Spring and Summer
Confirmation of Dutch Elm Disease
• When branches are cut out, look below peeled bark for signs of streaking
• Confirm through lab results
Learn more about the Friends tree care program and how you can help.