Tallinn authorities dial down on number of Kadriorg elm trees to be felled

Kadriorg Park. July 2023.
Kadriorg Park. July 2023. Source: Ken Mürk/ERR

The City of Tallinn has announced that it will not fell as many elm trees in an iconic park in the capital, as had been initially feared.

An outbreak of Dutch elm disease which has hit Kadriorg Park in Tallinn threatens its stock of Scots elm and White elm, and initial plans would have seen the felling of nearly a thousand trees.

As of now, around twenty trees are infected with Dutch elm disease, a drop in the ocean compared with the close to thousand trees currently in the park and which could be susceptible to the disease – which of course can spread.

Deputy Mayor of Tallinn Vladimir Svet (Center) told ERR that: "To prevent the outbreak from spreading further, diseased trees must be cut down. Naturally the tread is worrisome, but the situation is not so bleak as had been thought."

"Not all elms growing in Kadriorg Park need to be felled, while only a small proportion of them will be removed," Svet went on.

The city of Tallinn has ordered additional analysis from the Tartu-based Estonian University of Life Sciences (Maaülikool). 

Dutch elm disease propagates especially well in warm weather, meaning temperatures of 25C or above.

However, Ain Järve, head of Kadriorg Park, said the presence of the disease, which is also spreading in other countries in the region., is nothing new.

He said: For example, in Sweden today the vast majority of elms have been cut down due to elm death."

"In recent years, our summers have been warm and prolonged, which has served to amplify the aggressiveness of this virus.

"The disease may not be immediately visible to the eye, but we certainly only fell diseased trees when absolutely necessary. However, it would be premature to say that the disease has affected all of the elms in Kadriorg," he went on.

Kadriorg Park, founded during the reign of Tsar Peter the Great just over 300 years ago and named after his consort, Catherine (Kadriorg means "Catherine's valley" in Estonian) is home to nearly 9,000 trees overall. Most elms are tucked away in the further reaches of the park, particularly towards the limestone cliffs to the southeast.

Speaking to ERR last week, Ain Järve said that nearly 90 percent of the park's Scots elms (Ulmus glabra, or harilik jakalas in Estonian) have been infected with Dutch elm disease. The Estonian term for the disease is "jalakasurm", or literally "elm death".


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera', reporter Grete-Liina Roosve.

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