Injecting the ElmsIt’s easy to take Concordia’s elm trees for granted. As we marvel at their towering beauty, many of us remain unaware that they’re at risk of the fatal Dutch elm disease (DED). Thankfully, Facilities Management is keeping ahead of the disease.
DED is a fungal disease that is spread by the elm bark beetle. When the beetle feeds on the elm, a fungus invades the tree's vascular system. The tree responds to the infection by clogging vascular tissues that deliver nutrients to the tree.
The single line of defense for these trees is injection with a fungicide. Nicholas Holman '12, a student worker from Long Prairie, Minn., who conducts these injections, says it’s a tricky process.
"We mix a raw fungicide with distilled water," he says. "We use a formula to figure out how much we should mix together to get the right ratio for every tree."
The base of the tree is dug so the fungicide can be injected in the flares of the roots. Holman uses a drill to bore holes in the roots where the chemical is injected.
Grounds Services supervisor Jerry Raguse says the injections are scheduled every three years. He is hopeful the work will spare the trees from future disease.
"We've lost a number of trees on campus in the past," he says. "It would definitely change the landscape of campus if they went away."