Our Parks Care team, working with consulting arborist Norm Helie, is continually monitoring the health of the trees in all three parks. Norm recently identified an Augustine Elm on the Commonwealth Avenue Mall, near Berkeley Street, that was suffering from Dutch Elm Disease.

The telltale Dutch Elm Disease streaking created by root graft infection was verified by opening “windows” within the bark and surveying the vascular cambium – the main growth tissue in the stems and roots of many plants. This streaking (shown in the photo below) was found clearly in those locations. This indicated that the disease was coming up through the tree, rather than a twig feeding of bark beetle breeding sourced infection, where the disease would be isolated to the upper portions of the tree.

Augustine Elms, like all American Elm, are highly susceptible to DED. This variety is especially at risk, due to its fast growing nature. Once DED was confirmed, the removal of the tree was scheduled quickly both to ensure the safety of the public and to prevent the spread of the disease to any other trees.

Ongoing care for the more than 1,700 trees in our three parks is a core part of the Friends mission. Working in partnership with the Parks Department and experienced professionals like our consulting arborist, the Friends invests more than $2 million for parks care and programming in our parks each year. Learn more about Dutch Elm Disease here.