Gallery: Tallinn starts cutting down trees infected with Dutch elm disease

Twenty-nine trees infected with the Dutch elm disease (DES) will be cut down in Talinn's Kadriorg district Monday.

Pockets of infection are being localized all over town, with around 100 trees to be felled in all, the capital's press service said.

Liina Jürisoo, lecturer at the Estonian University of Life Sciences with a PhD in forest pathology, said that DES is spreading all over Europe and is a problem not just in Tallinn. Outbreaks have been diagnosed elsewhere in Harju County and other parts of Estonia.

"We are dealing with a fungal infection that spreads from tree to tree and is also carried by insects. Elm bark beetles that specialize in feeding on elms ingest the pathogen and infect a healthy tree when they land on it. Once an elm tree is infected with the fungus, the mycelium quickly spreads and multiplies, which causes the tree to kill itself in the process of fighting the infection. It is an extremely infectious and fast-killing fungal infection," Jürisoo said.

Elms grow in wild patches, mostly on or near the limestone bluff in Kadriorg. Other pockets of the disease have been found in parks surrounding the Old Town and in Põhja-Tallinn.

Tallinn Deputy Mayor Vladimir Svet said that the city is thinking of ways to replace the trees, working with experts, for which a committee has been formed. Representatives from the Estonian University of Life Sciences, Tallinn Botanical Gardens and the Estonian Arborists Society have been included. The committee members do not get paid for their work.


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Editor: Mirjam Mäekivi, Marcus Turovski

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