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Landscape Update: July 11, 2011

Chapin Lawn Elm Tree

Last week the Botanic Garden's Landscape Manager and Arborist Jay Girard noted a yellow branch tip on the old majestic American elm on the Chapin lawn. After Chief Arborist John Berryhill climbed the tree to get a sample, it was confirmed that one branch had Dutch elm disease. Experts from C.L. Frank & Co. (professional arborists) were called in and the limb was removed well below the point of infection. While the removal was significant, it is hoped that this type of surgery combined with injections of a fungicide will prevent the spread of the disease, which is caused by a fungus that travels through the water conducting vessels in the limbs and plugs them up. The initial infection is transmitted by a beetle that carries the fungus from tree to tree. If untreated the disease is always fatal. Surgery and fungicide treatment can prevent the further spread of the disease but there is never a guarantee with Dutch elm disease. The tree is also being recabled to reduce the effects of high wind on limb integrity. We will do all that is possible to save this tree, but wanted the campus community to be informed of the situation.

The American elm to the right front of John M. Green Hall needs to be removed because it is completely infected with Dutch elm disease. In this case, since the tree was entirely infected, it is hypothesized that a root graft from a town's elm that was on the curb nearby and recently died of the disease allowed the fungus to move rapidly up into the tree, as opposed to beetle inoculation which is "top down" and generally starts on a single branch.

Chapin Lawn elmelm
Chapin Lawn elm (left) and elm at John M. Green Hall (right)

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