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TREES IN ENGLAND ENDANGERED FROM UNKNOWN KILLER FUNGUS


LONDON, U.K - Forestry Commission scientists have found trees in parks and gardens are at risk from a killer disease which has arrived in England for the first time.
They said trees are infected with 'Phytophthora lateralis' in Plymouth. They have warned it could quickly spread to other parts of the country where the trees prized for their vibrant colours and are popular in landscaped gardens, churchyards and stately homes.
  • Lawson cypress trees are vulnerable to the deadly fungus which has already decimated their populations in parts of the US and Canada.
  • Gardeners who spot signs of it have been urged to report it immediately so the tree can be removed, as the infection can spread through soil and on tools.
  • In diseased trees, the leaves turn a lighter shade of olive-grey than healthy trees, then they wither and turn reddish-brown as the foliage dies.
  • The infection extends from the roots and up the stem, killing the inner bark so the entire tree dies.
  • It is not clear how the disease arrived in Britain but outbreaks have recently been recorded in Scotland and Northern Ireland, France and The Netherlands. However, the bug is harmless to humans and animals and most other plants.
  • John Morgan, head of plant health for the Forestry Commission, said: "It is very worrying to find this destructive tree pathogen so far from previous cases in Scotland and we are working hard to contain the disease quickly to try to trace where it came from."
The disease is thought to have originated in Asia before being introduced to North America through the nursery industry.
It is the latest bug to threaten Britain's trees. Last year, experts issued a warning about Sudden Oak Death, which attacks most trees including beech, larch, ash and horse chestnut.
Source: Agency
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