Wednesday, April 11, 2012
A new web video posted on YouTube this week explains how Devon landowners Clinton Devon Estates are trying to halt the spread of a devastating tree disease which has wiped-out great swathes of woodland across the South West in the past three years.
The three minute film details the steps that have been taken by forestry teams since the disease Phytophthora ramorum (P.ramorum) was discovered on neighbouring woodland overlooking Sidmouth at the beginning of this year.
In the last three weeks, Clinton Devon Estates have undertaken a large-scale tree felling programme at Otterton Hill near Budleigh Salterton to create a ‘fire break’ that will help stem the spread of the disease.
Ten hectares (25 acres) of healthy Japanese larch is being felled, under licence from the Forestry Commission, to prevent the fungus-like pathogen from infecting and killing even more trees.
In the short video John Wilding, Head of Forestry and Environment at Clinton Devon Estates explains the Estates’ decision to harvest the Japanese larch timber crop and replant with Douglas fir and Scott’s pine which are more resistant to P.ramorum. He also explains how, over time, there will be a natural regeneration of birch, ash and oak.
The video also appeals to gardeners to help in the battle against tree disease, which is originally believed to have been brought into the UK on infected plants. John Wilding asks gardeners to demand that their plant suppliers provide a guarantee of ‘clean’ plants and ‘clean’ soil in pot grown plants. Mr Wilding said: “I would urge as many people as possible to watch the web video to understand the key role that gardening and horticultural consumers play in preventing new diseases reaching this country and affecting other tree species”.