Historic Elm Tree in Centreville Facing Potential Dutch Elm Disease Outbreak
The iconic elm tree located in front of the Historic Courthouse in Centreville has recently displayed concerning signs of distress. The upper canopy of the tree is wilting, and leaves are browning at an alarming rate. The Department of Public Works has enlisted the assistance of specialized arborists to diagnose and treat the tree. Unfortunately, preliminary assessments indicate that the tree may be afflicted with Dutch Elm disease (DED), a devastating fungal infection that could prove to be terminal.
Dutch Elm disease, caused by a member of the sac fungi (Ascomycota), primarily spreads through elm bark beetles. Originally native to Asia, the disease was inadvertently introduced into America, Europe, and New Zealand, wreaking havoc on elm tree populations that lacked resistance to this destructive ailment.
The age of the elm tree in question is estimated to be at least 130 years old. The Queen Anne's County Courthouse itself holds the distinction of being the oldest courthouse in continuous use in the state of Maryland. With the construction of the new Circuit Courthouse across the street, the county seized the opportunity to undergo needed renovations. Once the renovations are complete, the Orphans Court and Register of Wills will find their new home within its historic walls.
Efforts are currently underway to determine the best course of action regarding the elm tree's prognosis and potential treatment options, a few of which have been implemented. The Department of Public Works, in collaboration with state and local arborists, remains committed to safeguarding this significant natural and historical landmark within the community.
For further updates on the elm tree's condition and the progress of the restoration project at the Queen Anne's County Courthouse, please contact the Department of Public Works.