HomeDomesticElm tree seeds pile up in Regina once again thanks to drought

Elm tree seeds pile up in Regina once again thanks to drought

It’s a seedy sight seen more than once in Regina in recent years.

Elm tree seeds are piling up like leaves on sidewalks, city gutters, rooftops and driveways.

And Regina’s resident tree expert, Open Space Services Manager Russell Eirich, says the arboreal abundance can be chalked up to a perhaps unlikely culprit — drought.

“What this really is is from last year,” Eirich told Global News Tuesday.

“The trees are saying it’s time to start to lay some seeds just in case they can’t make it through the drought, so they’re overproducing everything to try to ensure survivability in the long term.”

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Regina spruce trees have been producing more pollen this season as well.

Eirich explained that the above-average seed production does come at a cost to these trees due to the energy required to produce them.

He said that while drought is cyclical and excess seed production is not necessarily dangerous on its own, the resources required for their production can leave the tree more vulnerable to other stressors like pests.

He said that if drought continues that risk could be compounded by climate change.

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“Climate change may bring in different kinds of invasive species for insects like (the) emerald ash borer,” he said.

“Overall the trend has been a record drought since 2017. The trees are seeing that stressor. If we get a really wet summer this year, you might actually see the seeds go down the following year.”

Eirich said about 179,000 trees make up the city of Regina’s urban forest (this figure excludes trees in Wascana Park and on private property). An estimated 35-40 per cent of those are elms.

He encouraged residents to clean up seeds built up in gutters near their homes to prevent potential clogs or backups with rain in the forecast.

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Click to play video: 'Drought conditions persist in parts of Saskatchewan'

Drought conditions persist in parts of Saskatchewan

Drought conditions persist in parts of Saskatchewan – May 27, 2022

© 2022 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.



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