Dutch Elm disease must have peaked over twenty years ago…

November 2, 2007 in webcams by MrFarmer

Dutch Elm disease must have peaked over twenty years ago. The disease decimated all of the mature Elm Trees in the UK. It is a fungal disease of the Elm Tree, and is spread from tree to tree by a Beetle that gets under the bark of the tree, causing the tree to shed its dead bark, eventually the tree will die. The disease originated in Asia, not as the name suggests as being from the Netherlands. Spreading into Europe and America, where it has devastated native populations of Elms, which had not had the opportunity to have any resistance to the disease.

When we came to Denbury, we did not realise that we had Elm in our Hedgerows, we had believed that the disease had wiped out all of the Elm, but in fact if hedgerows are cut back regularly the Elm survives in the Hedgerows. Thinking that, and even being told by County Council Farming Adviser’s that the Hedgerows should be left to grow, only cutting back every few years or so to encourage wildlife, that is what we practiced. Unfortunately what we didn’t know was that is that a few years of growth of the Elm makes it more susceptible to the disease, and most of our Hedgerows have now not got any live Elm in them. A good example is the view from the main Badger camera where I get over the gate to feed the Badgers. Most of the Hedge that is more like trees now, either side of the post where the IR lamps are position, are dead Elm.

Around the Pond in front of the Farm House, are a lot of Willow Tree whips, that have seeded from a Willow Tree that started to grow out of know where in our front garden. I must admit that the tree is a nuisance as it stops the light getting to part of the garden, and every year its fluffy seed cones get every where, including our kitchen. This Winter it will have to go. Seven years ago it was a whip itself, it is now a very large tree, nearly as tall as the Farm House.

With the growth rate in mind, I thought that it would be a good idea to dig up a few of the Willow whips in the pond area and transplant them into the hedge, where I get over the fence to feed the Badgers. In a few years time they would have grown, so that we would be able to cut down the dead Elm. My Lads spent an hour or two transplanting the whips today. I must admit that I have made a mistake in transplanting the Willow. They would very soon spread to places on the Farm that I would not want them. Come Monday we will be digging them out and replacing them with whips of other pretty quick growing species of trees. Maybe a few Cherry.

Another job my Lads managed to start today was to cut up a large Ash Tree at the end of the valley. It is obscured by the clump of trees in the middle of the valley. It was brought down when we had the bad flood in June. It just shows what a force of water came through Denbury that night. The logs from the tree when cut up will last us for most of the winter for our fire. We are only just now finishing off the work that was needed after the damage that the flood caused.