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Illinois officials assess centuries-old elm tree

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014 1:15 a.m. CDT

QUINCY (AP) – Officials in western Illinois say a centuries-old tree might not have been infected with Dutch elm disease based on preliminary tests.

The Quincy Herald-Whig reported one of Quincy’s few American elm trees that survived a 1970s blight might be in shock after two summers of drought and a harsh winter.

The Quincy Tree Commission is working with the Illinois Department of Natural Resources and the Morton Arboretum in Lisle to evaluate its condition. The mammoth tree could be 253 to 390 years old.

Tests have indicated the tree isn’t infected with Dutch elm disease, the malady that devastated urban forests nationwide in the 1960s and ’70s. It’s one of only about 10 remaining in the city.

Most of the tree appears to be dead. Officials say it could still recover.

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