Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 13°C

min temp: 9°C

Search

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

University of Essex students hold a peaceful anti-Trump demostration at the university's Colchester campus. Picture: Seana Hughes

Dozens of students passionate about keeping Donald Trump out of Britain took part in a peaceful protest against his upcoming visit tonight.

A fire engine in North Hill, Colchester. Stock image. 

Picture: Andrew Partridge

Colchester’s North Hill was closed to drivers for a short time today to allow fire crews to repair damage to a historic structure.

A silhouette shot of 'Sarah', who has spoken about her experience with domestic abuse. Picture: Sarah Lucy Brown

A domestic violence survivor from Suffolk has told how family and friends intervened to help her flee a 13-year abusive relationship that left her “completely beaten”.

Jeremy Head, who took his own life at mental health unit Wedgwood House, in Bury St Edmunds, in 2014. Picture: Ashtons Legal

The sister of a 49-year-old man who was found hanged at a mental health unit in Suffolk has said she begged for help in the weeks leading up to his death.

slb 016 Sizewell C Reaction 06~1

Research is being carried out into a number of alternative options for a campus for workers constructing the Sizewell C nuclear power station.

Lauren Sherwood and Jaimin Patel (centre, arms linked) at Glemhall Hall where they met with suppliers of the St Elizabeth Hospice win a wedding competition. Picture: Echo Alfa

A Colchester couple who won St Elizabeth Hospice’s wedding giveaway last year have pledged their commitment to raising thousands of pounds for the cause in return for their special day at Glemham Hall.

President Vladimir Putin Dmitry Astakhov/ Sputnik, Government Press Service Pool photo via AP

Russian president Vladamir Putin should be offered a state visit, a Suffolk MP has said.

Most read

Great Days Out

cover

Click here to view
the Great Days Out
supplement

View

Eating Out in the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Eating Out
supplement

View

Visit the Broads

cover

Click here to view
the Visit the Broads
supplement

View

Most commented

HOT JOBS

Show Job Lists

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter
MyDate24 MyPhotos24