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Home > Plants, Pests & Pest Control > Plant Diseases > Dutch Elm Disease

Dutch Elm Disease


Dutch elm disease was first discovered in Minnesota in 1961 in Saint Paul and Monticello. Since then, the disease has spread to every county.

 A common scene prior to Dutch elm disease, a street lined with elmsBy the 1970’s an epidemic of Dutch elm disease was on the horizon. In response to the increasing problem, the certified tree inspector program was developed in 1974 to manage Dutch elm disease at the municipal level. The Minnesota Department of Agriculture is the lead agency responsible for the certification of tree inspectors that conduct local shade tree programs.

By the late 1970’s Dutch elm disease levels became manageable. Over the last 20 years annual losses to the disease have fluctuated around 1 to 3 percent annual loss in communities that have active DED management programs. Economic studies suggest such programs are highly effective and an efficient use of public resources. Dutch elm disease management costs money. However, the cost of doing nothing is up to 3 times greater in the short-term and long-term. Savings are realized from reduced tree removals and replacement of lost elms.

Today many communities across Minnesota have healthy mature elms remaining. A recent estimation of remaining elms in Minnesota projects over 1 million elms remain in communities statewide. The value of the remaining elm resource exceeds 1 billion dollars.

The aftermath of an uncontrolled Dutch elm disease epidemic resulting in most elms lostPublications

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