Help Protect our Precious Elms

by Sarah Ryman

Brighton & Hove City Council are calling on residents to help spot Elm Disease which can devastate our fine collection of trees. Our Biosphere is naturally unique by being the host of the National Elm Collection in Brighton & Hove, boasting some of the rarest elm tree varieties in the world in our parks, streets, schools and gardens.

Recent warm weather means The Living Coast is facing the highest rate of Elm disease in 10 years which could destroy a large proportion of 17,000 magnificent local Elms which is particularly sad after the loss of one of the famous Preston Park Twins last summer.

n Elm tree losing its leaves (thinning foliage) in early summer while other Elms around it are still full and healthy looking is a sign of Elm Disease

What you can do to help

You can help by becoming an extra pair of eyes and reporting any Elms you believe may be infected but also by only buying 'elm free' wood from reputable sources and exchanging any wood you may suspect of being Elm via the council scheme below..

Elm disease is fairly easy to spot if you know the signs and what to look for and report trees you believe may be infected.

Please email ElmDisease@brighton-hove.gov.uk with location and a photo if you suspect an Elm tree is diseased. It will then be inspect and if infected removed to stop the disease spreading.

WHAT IS ELM DISEASE?

Elm disease is caused by:

  • fungi that is transferred from diseased to healthy Elms by Elm bark beetles
  • the disease being transferred underground between trees through the roots
  • new trees growing from infected fragments following the removal of a diseased tree

How to spot elm disease

Symptoms start to show in early June, and the disease season lasts until September.

Signs of early infection are a wilting and browning or yellowing of parts of the foliage, or greenery, anywhere on the tree.

Another sign is an Elm tree losing its leaves (thinning foliage) in early summer while other Elms around it are still full and healthy looking.

Buying logs for fuel or ornaments made from Elm

  • please don’t buy logs for winter fuel/firewood if the supplier cannot guarantee the wood isn't Elm
  • if you’ve already bought logs, or have some in a wood store, and are uncertain what they are, Brighton & Hove City Council will inspect them. If Elm, they will dispose of them and give you a similar quantity free of charge
  • Elm trees should not be cut up and sold within the city
  • Elm trees taken out of the city should not be sold or brought back into the city as fire wood as they may house the beetles and also become breeding sites
  • don’t bring any Elm timber into the city for use as garden ornaments, seating, etc as they may contain disease carrying Elm bark beetles.

Signs of early Elm Disease infection are a wilting and browning or yellowing of parts of the foliage, or greenery, anywhere on the tree

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