SYNOPSIS: Elm trees along one of the most beautiful stretches of Britain's Rive Themes are being cut down in the fight against Dutch Elm Disease.
SYNOPSIS: Elm trees along one of the most beautiful stretches of Britain's Rive Themes are being cut down in the fight against Dutch Elm Disease. The trees, near Hampton Court, are the latest to go in an epidemic which has already struck hundreds of thousands of elms throughout the country. Elm trees over the entire southern half of England are being wiped out, and experts now fear that the elm may disappear completely from the English countryside.
Forestry spokes men say no real solution to the problem has been found, and even felling and burning have failed to halt the spread. In the country of Worcestershire, an estimated 90 per cent of elms are dead or dying, and other districts are expected to show similar figures. In Essex, areas which had been considered minimal risks, have become major risks in a matter of weeks.
The bark of the elm is a breeding ground for grubs. As the eggs hatch the young beetles fly to other trees, carrying with them fungus spores which block the tree's water and mineral drainage system. An attempt to stop the disease by importing Austrian wasps to attack the beetles failed because the disease spread too quickly. Injections with a fungicide may help, but it's expensive and the treatment must be repeated annually.