Everything seems to be blooming early this year, including lilacs (did anyone else’s rhubarb bolt before they managed to harvest?). It was a delightful surprise to stroll down the street with their floral scent wafting through the late-May breeze, but for Woodpecker Tree Care that meant it was time to spring into action. When the lilacs are blooming, it’s time for us to cruise around the countryside and inoculate valuable Maritime elm trees.
Since 2020, Woodpecker Tree Care has provided a preventative bio-control vaccine called DutchTrig to elms in danger of contracting Dutch Elm Disease. Since every elm is susceptible to catching the illness, which is a fungus spread on the backs of elm bark beetles, we have to prioritize which elms get this valuable treatment. This year we vaccinated more elms than ever, just over 50, between Norton and Minudie.
We had several elms that received their first ever treatment, thanks to generous local sponsors. For example, two elms in the historic Old Lower Sackville Cemetery on Main Street (below) were treated this year thanks to Wheeler Electric, Marc Truitt, and Laura Snyder. Two large trees in the Sackville Rural Cemetery on York Street were also treated for the first time with the help of Shawn and Angie Mesheau. A stately elm growing between the Amherst Co-op and Anglican Church of Christ on Lawrence Street was inoculated this year, and appears to be in marvellous shape.
Although new trees are always exciting, we were thrilled to round out our two-day inoculation frenzy in Minudie, NS. These elms stand where the Macaan and River Hebert meet, and one is home to a large bald eagle. The eagle was not particularly happy to see us poking around, but we were glad to help preserve their home for another year. Many thanks go out to Linda Trentini and Carla VanBeselaere for their generous donations, which covered the cost of the treatment for four of those elms this year.
Something that brightened our day was injecting elms that neighbours sponsored for one another. Two Sackville locals took it upon themselves to fund elms in their neighbourhoods, which will hopefully keep those beautiful landmark trees around longer. Whenever you walk past Blooms Flowers, you can visit an elm sponsored by Vallie Stearns-Anderson on their front lawn. The elm trees growing around the Drew Nursing Homes are always fabulous to visit, and they receive treatment thanks to three local business owners: Scott Hall, Cory and Rebecca Allen, and Greg Soper.
Some elms unfortunately did not appear to be in fabulous shape, and depending on how they fare next year this may be their last round of treatment. If an elm is sick with Dutch Elm Disease, there isn’t much that DutchTrig can do as it’s a preventative medicine. It would be similar to giving a flu shot to someone who currently has the flu. Also, if an elm is dying for other reasons, it is important that we prioritize which trees are treated since the supply is so limited. It’s a tough call to make. Overall, however, we were pleased to see how many elms leafed out beautifully and appeared healthy even after such dry summers and the prevalence of Dutch Elm Disease in the Maritimes.
Next year we’re ordering twice as much DutchTrig as we did this year, so if you missed the boat this time around, never fear! Meg, our elm coordinator, is still on the job and will happily visit your elm to assess its health and provide you with a quote for next year’s treatment.
We sincerely thank every single person who took part in, and took interest in, the DutchTrig inoculation project this year. Every elm in need we posted for “adoption” ended up being sponsored this year, thanks to sponsors and folks spreading the word. It could not have been accomplished without the support of Maritime communities.
Elm Preservation Donors & Sponsors 2022
Rebecca & Cory Allen
Scott & Lori Hall
Shawn & Angie Mesheau
Marc Truitt & Laura Snyder
Thank you to all clients, sponsors, and donors for making this year a success!