There was an interesting article in the Times by their Education Correspondent, Nicola Woolcock, last week. It mentions yet another tree genus that has succumbed to illness as a direct result of tree imports from Europe. Our country already has a huge Oak Processionary Moth problem in London but the moth affecting Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) is now rife all over the UK and severely debilitates its leaves via its young that eats them inside out. This then makes the tree more susceptible to other more menacing diseases such as Canker stain and the article refers to Stephen Woodward of the University of Aberdeen saying that these majestic trees will be ‘decimated in places and eventually most will disappear’.

So no more conkers on strings for our kids then.

Our nations biosecurity is under the most severe threat with nurseries bringing in plant material from all over Europe without any thought or checks as to what pest and diseases they may carry. We have been beating the drum for tighter biosecurity for years and was delighted to see a robust statement coming out this week from the Arboricultural Association urging the need for specifiers to source home grown plants to combat the threat of these nasty entrants. This statement has been endorsed by DEFRA, the Forestry Commission and the Royal Horticultural Society amongst others and is a real stride forward to curbing these damaging imports.


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