Close up of Dutch Elm Disease

What Is Dutch Elm Disease & How Can Tree Surgeons Manage The Spread Of The Disease

Dutch elm disease can be something of a blight for those who want a healthy garden. When it comes to managing the threat of the diseases, there are some issues that you need to be aware of. You may or may not be aware of the problem but Dutch elm disease is something that you need to become au fait with. That way, you can spot the problem and take proactive steps in eradicating issues that may arise.

Let’s take a further look into this problem and what can be done to manage the spread of the disease.

An Overview: What is Dutch Elm Disease?

Dutch elm disease is the spread of a fungal infection within the tree itself. It mostly affects elm trees within the UK. The disease is spread by elm bark beetles. These pesky critters get into the bark and destroy the trees from the inside out. The problem has affected a lot of elms within the UK and in North America. In the south of England, more trees have been destroyed and killed as a result of this fungal disease.

What Does Dutch Elm Disease Look Like: Spotting the Problem

Recognising what Dutch elm disease looks like is the first step in treating and remedying the issues. If you spot an elm in your garden that looks wilted and perished, this could be the first sign of Dutch elm disease. The leaves will start to brown, irrespective of the seasons. As such, the foliage never recovers, and the problems are spotted more quickly in the spring and summer seasons. The branches may start to flag and wilt if the disease is transmitted via the trunk or root of the tree. You can see with ease the symptoms of this problem. The wilted leaves are only one problem. If you spot discoloured and dark bark on your Elm trees, this could be the result of an infection.

If you are unsure as to whether the disease is apparent in your trees, cut a small piece of the tree and take a look at the dewy bark underneath. Do ensure to cut deeply into the bark, as the disease runs through the tree deeply and does not show superficial marks with the onset of the problem. Streaks within the bark are symptomatic of a further problem or infection. Staining of the pale wood is a sure-fire sign that your tree had Dutch elm disease.

Origins of Dutch Elm Disease

In 1917, a group of Dutch scientists found that the disease was prevalent in Holland. The fungal infection wiped out a large number of elms within Europe. But, the origins of the disease hail as far away as the Himalayas. It is said that some Japanese strains of the infection are more perilous than originally thought. By 1930, the disease had spread to the US and the UK. By the 1980s, over 17m of the trees were eradicated in the UK alone.

How Can Tree Surgeons Manage the Spread Of Dutch Elm Disease?

Disease management is imperative to containing the problem of Dutch elm disease. Many tree surgeons are looking at ways that they can manage the spread of the threat. This has been done to ensure that the indigenous elm population remains healthy and alive. What is more, tree surgeons are keen to see a thriving elm population within the UK once more.

Tree surgeons will strive to ensure that the tree is pruned effectively to remove the dead or dying branches, in the early days of the disease. They will ensure that the infected tree is removed, if necessary. If the disease is spotted early, effective pruning techniques can eradicate the problem. Early pruning stops the infection from spreading further and affecting other trees within the area.

As such, the fungus needs to be controlled too. Fungal control can be done by ensuring that adequate insect control measures are put into place. Beetles need to be stopped from infecting the trees. This sanitation method acts as a form of pest control. As such, this prevents the threat of the disease from occurring. Beetles can be prevented from damaging trees with insecticidal soaps and oils. Applying this to the trees can ensure that the tree is safe, but the beetles are killed.

How Can the UK Recover From Dutch Elm Disease?

Dutch elm disease has blighted the landscape of rural Britain. The elm trees defined the nation, but now they are under attack. The UK has attempted to control the problem. There have been regeneration efforts made around the country to ensure that the trees are populating and are healthy in the process.

Some of these attempts have not come into fruition. But, if you spot the signs of Dutch elm disease, contacting a tree surgeon to stop and control the problem is imperative. That way, the virus will be contained, and the fungal infection can be stopped in its tracks. By raising greater awareness of the issues, the UK may finally be able to recover from Dutch elm disease.

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