Dutch Elm Disease Insurance for Privately Owned Trees
Dutch Elm Disease (DED) is an easily spread fungal disease that affects American Elm trees. It can spread quickly, and can kill an Elm tree within one season. The City of Evanston's Forestry Division cares for the thousands of trees in our parks, public areas, and on the miles and miles of our beautiful parkways. The City regularly performs pruning and other preventative maintenance measures, tests for Dutch Elm Disease, and removes public trees which have become too diseased to save. However, when DED infects a tree on private property, the homeowner bears the sometimes-staggering costs for removal.
To ease this potential financial burden, the Evanston Forestry Division is pleased to offer a Private Elm Tree Insurance Program which covers the removal of Elm trees on private property lost due to DED.
HOW DO I ENROLL?
The enrollment period for the 2018 program will open on March 1, 2018. Applications for the 2018 season will be accepted until May 31, 2018. If you would like to insure a new tree into the program, you must fill out an application and send it in with your payment. The 2018 form can be found here - 2018 Private Elm Insurance Application
For residents wishing to renew the insurance on a previously insured elm, you can renew on line using the form below.
If you have any questions, or would like to participate in 2018, please do not hesitate to call 311 (847-448-4311 outside of Evanston).
HOW DOES THE PROGRAM WORK?
The City provides free testing of your insured Elm tree if DED symptoms appear. If symptoms are evident in 5% or less of the tree's canopy, you may choose to try to save your insured tree by having your own tree company cut out the diseased portions. Because of liability issues, City workers may not trim or remove private trees.
If your insured tree is too infected to save and requires removal, the City will handle all aspects and costs of that removal for you. Removal is to “ground level” by a highly qualified, insured tree company, as determined by the City. Removal of the in-ground stump would be left up to you. If you desire, you may contact your local tree company to have the stump removed.
SCOUTING AND TREE REMOVAL
Starting in early June of each year, employees of the Forestry Division conduct regular inspections of all American elm trees on both public and private property, looking for symptoms of Dutch Elm Disease. Once an elm tree is diagnosed with Dutch Elm Disease, City of Evanston ordinance requires removal of the tree within 30 days.
If the diseased tree is located on private property, the property owner must bear the cost of removal. This cost can range from approximately $1,000 for medium-sized trees, to over $4,000 for very large trees. In order to avoid these unexpected costs, the City’s Forestry Division offers Dutch Elm Disease Insurance to all Evanston property owners. This annual insurance covers only the tree removal costs if the tree becomes infected with Dutch Elm Disease, and is only for a one-year period.
WHAT CAN I DO TO HELP MY ELM(S) SURVIVE?
To afford your Elm(s) a better chance of survival, you might want to consider periodic deadwood pruning through a private company. There is also a preventative trunk injection available that appears to be effective in preventing elms from becoming infected in the first place. Consult your tree company for details and costs for such treatments. The pruning and treatment are beneficial to your trees, but are not required as part of the insurance program described above. The simplest and least expensive way you can help all of your trees is to thoroughly water them once a week during droughts or dry periods.
For more information on Dutch Elm Disease, see:
https://www.na.fs.fed.us/spfo/pubs/pest_al/ded/elm.pdf (USDA’s Pest Alert)
http://www.extension.umn.edu/garden/yard-garden/trees-shrubs/dutch-elm-disease/ (University of Minnesota Extension)