Colo.’s biggest American elm is doomed |

Colo.’s biggest American elm is doomed

COLORADO SPRINGS – An American elm tree believed to be the largest of its kind in the state was declared hopelessly ill with Dutch elm disease Friday, and city crews began cutting it down.

City Forester Jim McGannon said the 100-foot-tall tree had to be removed to keep the incurable disease from spreading to other trees.

“A lot has been done to try to save it, but now it comes down to protecting the rest of our urban forest,” McGannon said. “The tree will be dead by the end of August, and it is a threat to other trees in the neighborhood.”

The tree, on private property, was diagnosed with Dutch elm in 2005. It was injected with systemic fungicides to try stem the spread of the disease, but the effort failed.

City officials said they obtained court permission to remove the tree because the property owner is dead and ownership of the estate was in question.

The city has removed two other diseased elms this year, and crews are monitoring other trees for signs of Dutch elm.

Support Local Journalism