Dieback is a common condition in Britain’s oak tree population, but in recent years the new menace of acute oak dieback (AOD) has appeared. The combination of a new strain of bacteria accompanied by an infestation of a particular species of beetle is thought to cause and/or make worse the situation, and it is a problem that is rapidly spreading – with AOD currently identified from Somerset to East Anglia and as far north as the Midlands.
The Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) is a relatively recent scourge of the UK oak tree population. They live and feed almost exclusively on oak leaves and can strip a tree bare, leaving it weakened and more vulnerable to pests, diseases, and stress. But this pest does not stop at compromising the health of our oak trees – people and pets need to watch out as well.
Today it is very unlikely that you will have a mature elm in your garden. It’s a shame, but successive waves of Dutch elm disease have devastated the British population of this once prolific tree on our isle. So, if you have any young elm saplings in your garden you’ll want to do your bit to protect them from a disease that will still find and destroy them, given half a chance.