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What is Landfill Diverted Urban Elm?

In many central and eastern cities in the U.S. and Canada, the American Elm  (Ulmus Americana)used to be one of the main trees used in urban development.  The American Elm is a wonderful shade tree and was planted along boulevards, in front of houses and in recreation and park areas.  Over the course of 50 years after accidental introduction of Dutch Elm Disease (DED) into North America in the 1920’s, The number of Elms in North America has gone from 40 million trees to a mere 7 million.


Many urban centres have active DED control programs in place which involves identifying a tree with the disease, removing it and land filling or burning the tree.  Over the course of the last 70 years, millions of trees have been destroyed in an effort to contain the disease.


The city of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada has the largest remaining mature urban Elm forest on North America with a staggering 200,000 mature Elms.  Each year the city removes 5000-6000 elms and landfills them to control DED.  Wood Anchor has a exclusive contract with the city of Winnipeg to recycle these trees keeping them out of the landfill. Wood Anchor processes the trees turning them into anything from modern furniture to beautiful works art for homes and commercial applications.


Because the disease is contained to the bark, once the bark is removed the wood is completely harmless.


Dutch Elm Disease (DED)

Dutch Elm Disease (DED) is a fungal disease of elm trees which is spread by the elm bark beetle. Although believed to be originally native to Asia, it has been accidentally introduced into America and Europe, where it has devastated native populations of elms which had not had the opportunity to evolve resistance to the disease. The name Dutch elm disease refers to the identification of the disease in the 1920s in the Netherlands; the disease is not specific to theDutch Elm hybrid [1] [2]


The disease was first reported in the United States in 1928, with the beetles believed to have arrived in a shipment of logs from the Netherlands destined for use as veneer in the Ohiofurniture industry. The disease spread slowly from New England westward and southward, almost completely destroying the famous Elms in the ‘Elm City’ of New Haven, reaching the Detroit area in 1950[9], the Chicago area by 1960, and Minneapolis by 1970.



Dutch elm disease reached Eastern Canada during the Second World War, and spread toOntario in 1967, Manitoba in 1975 and Saskatchewan in 1981. The largest American, or American White, Elm Ulmus americana known to exist in Ontario, the Sauble Elm, succumbed to the disease and was cut down in September 1968 [10].


In Toronto, Ontario, 80% of the elm trees have been lost to Dutch elm disease, and many more have fallen victim to the disease in OttawaMontreal and other cities during the 1970s and 1980s. Alberta and British Columbia are the only provinces that are currently free of Dutch elm disease, although an elm tree in southeastern Alberta was found diseased in 1998 and was immediately destroyed before the disease could spread any further. Thus, this was an isolated case.


Today, Alberta has the largest number of elms unaffected by Dutch elm disease in the world. Aggressive measures are being taken to prevent the spread of the disease into Alberta as well as further progression of the disease in other parts of Canada. The City of Edmonton has banned elm pruning from March 31 to October 1, since fresh pruning wounds will attract the beetles during the warmer months.