Volunteers needed to help fight tree disease

EAST Sussex County Council is asking people to help fight Dutch elm disease.

Volunteers will work with a Dutch elm disease officer, patrol specific villages, parishes or areas across the control zone and report sick trees so they can be dealt with appropriately.

Dutch elm disease has killed millions of trees in the UK since 1971 and the only way to reduce the spread is to fell and burn those trees that have been infected, before, or as they become, a host for breeding beetles.

East Sussex now contains the largest population of mature English elms in the world and the control area established in 1973 has helped to protect them.

Infected trees can be identified by the brown and yellow wilting leaves at the tips of the branches.

These gradually spread throughout the canopy as the tree shuts off its water supply, hoping to trap the fungus in the infected limb.

Councillor Carl Maynard said, “By registering to become an Elm Protection Volunteer you can help fight the spread of Dutch elm disease and help look after the largest population of mature English elms in the world.”

You can report any sightings of diseased trees by telephone, email or through our online ‘Report A Fault’ system.

The website also has helpful hints on how to spot the disease and what to look out for.

If people are unsure they should contact a Dutch elm disease officer (details below) who can verify the sightings.

The event which is being staged to welcome and train new and existing Elm Protection Volunteers is on Saturday, May 26 at the Seven Sisters Country Park.

To register an interest in becoming a volunteer and to register for the event, or to report a Dutch elm disease sighting, contact by:

* the online “report a fault” system at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/reportafault

* email to dutchelmdisease@eastsussex.gov.uk or

* ringing 0345 60 80 193.

For more information visit www.eastsussex.gov.uk/environment/woodlands/dutchelms