Fresh hope for UK’s elm trees

27 May 2016

A programme to vaccinate UK elm trees against Dutch elm disease began in East Sussex this week.

The first injections of UK elms with biological vaccine Dutch Trig took place on 25 May in Seaford. The vaccine has been used to combat Dutch elm disease in the Netherlands since 1992 and injections of elms have also been carried out in Sweden, Germany, the USA and Canada.

It builds on the Conservation Foundation’s Ulmus Maritime project for the Sussex coast’s elm landscape, with the foundation now joining forces with East Sussex County Council to trial the vaccine, which is supplied by a company called Bomendienst.

Anthony Becvar, Dutch elm disease officer for East Sussex County Council, said: “It’s important we preserve our natural heritage for generations to come. Currently that means felling diseased trees to save others from becoming infected. The close proximity of the English Channel results in cold winds from the sea making it a difficult area for the elm bark beetle to reach. These conditions, and our continued control programme, have resulted in one of the largest population of elms in the country.”