Trees in Worcester found with killer disease

Worcester News: Countryside Ranger Steve Reynolds with one of the affected trees Countryside Ranger Steve Reynolds with one of the affected trees

A KILLER disease has been discovered on trees at ancient woodlands in Worcester.

Acute Oak Decline, which has destroyed thousands of trees across the UK in recent years, has been found at Warndon Woods.

The disease, which is caused by a bacteria spreading, can kill even mature trees in as little as four to five years, and was found by park rangers during routine inspections.

Worcester City Council say the discovery is confined to a “relatively small” section of the woodlands, and is actively watching over the trees to see if it spreads.

It has been in talks with the Forestry Commission over the find, which is becoming an increasingly common one across the UK.

Because it is relatively new no cure or treatment has been found for the disease yet, although there are some fungicides which can suppress the symptoms.

The city council says the find at Warndon Woods is confined to a small “contained” area of the woodlands.

Warndon Woods is a nature reserve off Parsonage Way containing a pond, badger and buzzard trails, footpath and interpretation board.

Geoff Poole, tree protection officer at the city council, said: “It’s a fairly small, relatively contained area where the disease has been found.

“It can kill them, there is that possibility, and although we don’t fully understand the disease yet it could be a potentially serious issue.

“It is being monitored and we’ve had a meeting with the Forestry Commission over it to follow best practise. It is quite small.”

A new in-house report on the wider condition of Worcester’s trees says the city is doing well in terms of the general population.

Ash Dieback - another, more ominous disease which has far more potential to spread, has not been discovered here.

The report also says the council is planning to fund a raft of new trees along Worcester High Street to make it even more appealing to shoppers.

A row of Cherry cultivar - nicknamed ‘Sunset Boulevards’ because they are widely considered the premier generation of trees - will be planted down central parts of the route.

The report says it will “add considerably” to the street scene and help replace some trees which were chopped down two years ago.

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