Monday, 26 August 2013

Time to be a Tree Hugger?

I'm guessing that everyone has heard of ash dieback decease? But then I got to thinking about branches falling off trees near my own house, of neighbour's reporting part of dead trees overhanging into their gardens. This weekend I was reminded of a long running saga of a constituent's shed being clobbered by a falling branch, something which I have now escalated to the deputy leader of the Central Bedfordshire Council, since Highways are denying it has anything to do with them.

Trees do that, they're just plants, right? Well, maybe not. I delved a bit deeper. It seems there are a lot more things harming the trees than we might at first have  realised, so perhaps it's time to be a tree hugger or whatever. Certainly those in the know claim that government help is too little and too late.

So what is the challenge? Well here is a list of a few: Acute oak decline, Asian longhorn beetle, Ash dieback (Chalara), Chestnut blight, Dothistroma needle blight, Great spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus micans), Horse chestnut leaf miner (Cameraria ohridella), Oak pinhole borer (Platypus cylindrus), Oak processionary moth (Thaumetopoea processionea), Phytophthora alni, Juniper dieback (Phytophthora austrocedrae), Phytophthora kernoviaem, Phytophthora lateralis, Phytophthora ramorum, Pine tree lappet moth. The list goes on.

But what can you do to help you may ask? As our woodlands are in full leaf and great places to cool off over the summer months, so is it a great time to help monitor their health and wellbeing. To do this Forestry Commission have set up their Tree Alert programme,  an interactive website where you can find out more about many of these pests and diseases, what they look like and how you can report suspected cases.

I am indebted to  Oliver Burke for the last two paragraphs.

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