Council is working to maintain its many elm trees.

ELM trees in local streets, parks and reserves are receiving some much-needed defence against the elm leaf beetle.

The small, yellowish to olive green bugs come out in early spring to feed on young leaves and can cause an elm to defoliate. However repeated infestations can affect the growth and eventually kill the trees.

Council this week started its yearly control program, using soil or stem injection methods to get the insecticide into the tree.

Parks and open space manager Paul Gangell says the program is vital for the elm trees.

“The program helps to maintain the long term health and structural integrity of the trees by reducing early leaf drop experienced during heavy infestations,” Mr Gangell said.

Of the 3000 elm trees in Bendigo, the council aims to treat all of them every two to three years.

About 1500 trees are set to be treated this year, with the program expected to be completed by September.

Residents with elm trees on their property should contact an experienced arborist as the council does not treat privately-owned trees.