Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 15°C

min temp: 10°C

ESTD 1874 Search

The pigs are coming. Find out more about

Pigs Gone Wild

here.

Suffolk: One of county’s tallest oaks to be felled after deadly disease strikes

12:00 29 December 2012

Lord Cranbrook with some of the trees affected by Acute Oak Decline in their estate.

Lord Cranbrook with some of the trees affected by Acute Oak Decline in their estate.

Archant

ONE of the tallest oaks in Suffolk will be cut down after falling victim to a deadly tree disease.

Acute oak decline (AOD), which experts fear could be as devastating as chalara dieback of ash and Dutch elm disease, have been reported across the country, with a concentration of cases in Suffolk and north Essex.

Now landowners in east Suffolk have said they have no choice but to chop down an historic oak, which stands over a footpath, after the disease reduced its crown to 30 tonnes of dead wood.

They claim the death of the tree – one of nine so-called Crabbe oaks, said to be standing when the poet and clergyman George Crabbe lived in the area – signifies the deep cultural impact the disease could have on the Suffolk landscape.

Jason Gathorne-Hardy, 44, of White House Farm, which is part of Great Glemham Farms, near Saxmundham said: “One of the people I work with is a fourth generation timberman.

“He has an extraordinary understanding of timber and trees in Suffolk and he thinks it is probably one of the ten tallest oaks in the county in terms of height and stature.

“One of the theories we have looked at is that it would have been alive when Crabbe lived in the village. I’m pretty sure he would have walked underneath it.”

Mr Gathorne-Hardy said the tree, which first started showing symptoms of the disease four or five years ago, now had to be felled for health and safety reasons.

He added: “This is the thing I find most distressing that we are losing trees that have been around us some of them for hundreds of years. It seems like negligence and a lack of compassion and understanding for our surroundings to lose organisms that have overseen most of our recent historical developments.”

Although the disease has been known for a number of years, with some experts claiming they had seen cases 14 years ago, the exact cause, although thought to be bacterial, is not yet known.

Symptoms of AOD include dark weeping patches on the trunk, severe crown deterioration and D-shaped exit holes caused by the Agrilus biuttatus beetle.

Julian Roughton, chief executive of Suffolk Wildlife Trust, has previously urged people to take part in “citizen science” and report any suspected cases to the Forestry Commission.

Mr Gathorne-Hardy said it was vital that the profile of AOD was raised and called on the Government for improvements in how they respond to tree diseases.

He added: “There really seems to be a terrible complacency about what is happening to our trees. It is almost systemic failure.”

The EADT reported last week how Woodland Heritage, a charity dedicated to the proper management of British trees, had initiated a fundraising campaign after what they accused the Government of “underfunding the problem.”

Their work has led to the funding of an international bacterial taxonomist, a micro-biologist, a molecular scientist and a lab assistant at Forest Research – the research agency of the Forestry Commission.

A spokeswoman for Defra said they are taking the threat of tree disease seriously and a £1million project to increase the understanding of AOD is about to begin.

Related articles

0 comments

Chris Packham, Michaela Strachan and Martin Hughes-Games will be broadcasting Springwatch  live from RSPB Minsmere again this year

Suffolk’s thriving tourism sector is gearing up for a summer of spectacular success as hordes of holidaymakers are expected to be lured to the county’s coast by the “phenomenal” Springwatch effect.

Essex Fire and Rescue has issued safety advice after the chip pan fire. Photo: David Stubbs

A man in Clacton suffered smoke inhalation after a chip pan fire in Boxted Avenue last night.

Police at Forum Court in Bury St Edmunds

The trial of five men accused of conspiring to murder a Suffolk man who was shot at point blank range in the chest in Bury St Edmunds continued yesterday after a week long break due to the ill health of one of the defendants.

Adam Ant on stage in the Word Arena at the Latitude Festival in 2011. Photograph: Simon Parker

I’m not an avid Adam Ant fan, so when I headed to his Kings of the Wild Frontier concert at the Ipswich Regent tonight I wasn’t sure what to expect.

Bill Baldry, Alton Water walk, EADT May 21

Bill Baldry enjoys the sights and sounds of Alton Water as he wanders through the woods north of Alton Water reservoir.

Building firm boss in court (stock photo)

The director of a Suffolk building company will be sentenced in July after admitting 18 offences of fraud.

Dismantlement project on the Buttermarket Shopping Centre has begun. Left to right, Tom Bloor, Mark Bloor and Mark William.

Tonight marks the start of a three-week project to remove the distinctive facade over the entrance to the Buttermarket Shopping Centre.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Streetlife

Newsletter Sign Up

Great British Life

Great British Life
MyDate24 MyPhotos24