Work starts to save elm trees

Colac Otway Shire Council has started a treatment program to stop the spread of destructive elm leaf beetles. Colac’s Ron Amos and Jen Todorovic are urging residents with elm trees to monitor them for signs of the pest.

Colac residents should be on the lookout for signs of a destructive pest attacking elm trees across Colac, as Colac Otway Shire Council ramps up a preventative treatment program.

The invasive beetle feeds on leaves and can completely defoliate mature trees.

The council’s Frank Castles said the beetles remained a problem in the shire, but treatment had been successful in the past, and the latest program would span across September and October.

“Council has started treatment on the elm trees as part of its management plan covering trees in Colac’s Memorial Square, along the Barongarook Creek, at COPACC, along the median strip in Murray Street and at the botanic gardens,” Mr Castles said.

“Trees are being treated with an approved systemic pesticide that is applied around the drip line in a bid to control and reduce the spread of the elm leaf beetle. If there are isolated pest outbreaks, a follow-up treatment of spraying foliage with insecticide may be required to limit damage to the elm trees.

“By treating the trees affected by elm leaf beetles, council is hoping to maintain the long-term health and structural integrity of the trees, reducing early leaf drop which occurs when a tree is heavily infested,” he said.

The council’s plan will also involve more inspections in summer, when the trees have foliage.

Mr Castles urged residents with elm trees to monitor and treat the infestation if present.

See today’s Colac Herald for more.

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