The Conker Tree Disease

  Quickbeam 10:35 15 Oct 2010

Continued from the end deviation of the 'Dangerous Acorn' thread...

The FE's posted link on it click here

I've been aware of this for a year or so, but this year within the space of less than two weeks this autumn, the Horse Chestnut trees that started a normal season of healthy leafing, flowering and growing what looked like healthy nuts, have suddenly withered.

The nut harvest is less than 5% what I would expect to be on the ground by now and the leaves have withered to dry and dead without any of the normal colourful autumnal decay.

This is prevalent on all the Conker trees within a couple of miles radius of myself including new saplings over a mile away from the parent trees that have been scatter planted by myself in previous years.

It's now looking like we might be on the verge of a decimating tree felling cull on a par with the early '70s Dutch Elm outbreak.

  gardener 10:58 15 Oct 2010

There seems to be quite a few tree species under threat of disease. The Oak, the Beech and as you say, the Horse Chestnut. One theory being aired is climate change , which enables insect pests to proliferate.

I could not bear to see some of the trees around our way dying.

This organization does a great job in trying to redress the balance:

click here

  Quickbeam 14:11 15 Oct 2010

A bit more on it click here it may be recoverable.

fourm member
" there is debate about whether it should be considered a native after 100+ years."

Are you kidding? It must be the favourite tree we have simply because of it's harvest, I think that after 100+ years it is no longer an unwelcome immigrant!

  Quickbeam 14:20 15 Oct 2010

Another optimistic link click here This is what all the trees near me have.

  Forum Editor 17:29 15 Oct 2010

There's probably something in that.

The trees are under attack from Leaf miner moth larvae. The action of the larvae inhibits the tree's ability to synthesise chlorophyll, and the debilitating effect lowers its resistance to the bleeding canker bacterium.

Leaf Miners are always with us, and there's a natural defence - a parasite that preys on the larvae. Under 'normal' circumstances this defence maintains a balance - some trees are attacked, and some succumb to bleeding canker, but in most cases the parasite kills off large numbers of larvae. This means fewer moths appearing, and a balance is achieved.

It's though possible that global warming has altered this balance by allowing the Miner moths to proliferate in huge numbers - far more than can be dealt with by the parasites. As a result, large numbers of trees are going to die. The first case of bleeding canker was discovered in Wimbledon, and now it has spread out all over South East England and further north.

  gardener 18:48 15 Oct 2010

I don't know about everyone else but I don't think I can take much more of this. Has anyone got some good news?...please.

  morddwyd 20:35 15 Oct 2010

"If it isn't mentioned by Roman officers who were here in the 1st century, it can't be native,"

The Romans were worse offenders than the Victorians.

They introduced the rabbit, among other things!

  lotvic 20:41 15 Oct 2010

I won a tenner on the lotto last week :)

  gardener 21:02 15 Oct 2010


Then buy a tree or two, ( or tree)

  gardener 21:22 15 Oct 2010

An interesting thought,( I've had a couple of beers because it's Friday and I deserve them), We could consider ourselves unwitting agents of plant and animal expansion . After all we import plants and animals from all over the world into our gardens and zoos. They could never do that on their own, and many escape and thrive.

The natural world has never had it so good.

But on the other hand, we destroy their natural habitat.

More beer I think.

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