Council has begun its annual treatment program to protect the shire’s 2,700 elm trees from a serial pest known as the Elm Leaf Beetle.
The Elm Leaf Beetle defoliates and weakens mature trees. Trees that have been attacked by the beetle have a distinctive round hole in their leaves.
Director Assets and Operations, Shane Walden said while it is impossible to eradicate the beetle, Council has developed a management program to protect significant stands of elms, predominantly in parks and avenues.
“These beautiful European trees have all but disappeared in Europe due to Dutch elm disease,” Mr Walden said. “They are still flourishing in Australia but are prone to Elm Leaf Beetle attack, so we want to protect them.”
Treatment generally occurs in Macedon Ranges Shire from September to November. Methods used include spraying and injecting the soil around the root zone of the tree with low toxicity insecticide. This safe and effective method of treating large trees tends to protect them for more than one season.
Council is a member of Friends of the Elms Inc. (FOTE), which maintains a state-wide elm register and helps local government and other bodies to manage threats to elm trees.