Elm Leaf Beetle impacting local trees

26 February 2014

ELM trees across the Alpine Shire are suffering from an infestation of Elm Leaf Beetles, compounded by the effects of heat stress caused by summer’s extreme temperatures.

Alpine Shire Council Manager Public Works and Services Lyn Blandford said Council would treat public trees for Elm Leaf Beetle in September to help reduce future outbreaks.

“We recognise that this is a real issue, and we need landowners with infested trees to make sure they control them on their property,” she said.

“One of the big problems with these beetles is that they will spread from infested to healthy trees in a short space of time, so we really need a shire-wide, cooperative effort to get them under control.”

Elm Leaf Beetles damage trees by eating their leaves, slowing photosynthesis and restricting the tree’s ability to absorb nutrients.

Beetles remain underground during winter. In late spring they make their way up the trunk of elm trees to feed and lay their eggs on the leaves. When hatched, the larvae “skeletonise” the leaves, causing further damage to the tree.

“Repeated infestations can seriously weaken and eventually kill a tree,” Ms Blandford said.

“We have more than 4800 elm trees on Council-managed land in the Bright–Porepunkah–Wandiligong area alone.

“We’re finding now that the majority of elm trees across the shire – on Council, Crown and private land – are infested, which means we all, as a community, have a responsibility to get this problem under control.

“If you have Elm Leaf Beetle on your property, you need to manage the infestation to lower these beetle numbers and extend the lifespan of your elms.”

Council will treat trees in September to kill off beetles emerging to lay their eggs.

“The trees will be treated with stem injections that last for around three years, giving treated trees the chance to regain their health and beetle numbers to reduce,” Ms Blandford said.

To learn more about what to do if you have elm leaf beetle on your property, visit http://home.vicnet.net.au/~fote/ElmsNeedFriends.pdf.

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