Sad loss of elms in Patcham

Urgent Elm Disease conservation work is taking place next week to remove a number of infected elm trees in Patcham.

Very sadly, we need to remove 12 trees from the grounds of the Downs View Life Skills College on Old London Road to contain the spread of Elm Disease.

We’ve carried out a thorough inspection of all the trees and, unfortunately, the level of infection found means removing all 12 is our only option. All our elm disease conservation work is done on the basis of removing one tree to save many more.

The work to remove the trees is planned to take place on Thursday 1 and Friday 2 September.

It’s important that all infected wood is removed to stop breeding and infecting other elms in the area.

We have found an issue this summer of diseased elm timber being left on a site, and we are following this up with the company involved. All professional tree contractors should be advising residents on the correct way to deal with infected elm trees.

If you’re concerned about an elm tree, please contact our arboriculture team by emailing

Devastating impact

Councillor Elaine Hills, a member of the Environment, Transport & Sustainability committee, said: “It’s very sad that we’re losing more of our much-loved trees to Elm Disease. Unfortunately, our only option is to remove all 12 trees to stop the infection spreading further.

“It’s the third summer in a row that we’re seeing very high levels of Elm Disease and it’s devastating to see it having such an impact in the city again.

“Our arboriculturists are all experts in protecting Brighton & Hove’s elms and it’s vital that we act as quickly as we can to contain the spread of infection.

“It is crucial that we do everything we can to maintain the city’s tree population and reduce the impact on biodiversity from trees lost to disease. This is why we are planting thousands of young trees in the city every year.

“If you’re concerned about an elm, do get in touch with the team to let them know.”

Tackling elm disease

Elms remain the dominant tree across the city, with an estimated growing population of more than 17,000. Our success has led to the city becoming the holder of the National Elm Collection.

Each summer, our arboriculture team faces a battle across the city against the tiny beetle which carries the deadly elm tree killing fungus known as Elm Disease (previously Dutch Elm Disease).

Losses of trees to the disease have been manageable over the years thanks to a council-led control campaign. However, it’s a task that has become harder over the last few years for several reasons.

One of the most common ways for a tree to become infected is via beetles breeding on elm logs stored in the area.

These logs are likely to have been brought in from other parts of Sussex where there has been a massive rise in elm disease infection and subsequent logs becoming available.

In recent years, there has also been a rapid increase in the number of wood-burning stoves being sold in the area, increasing the risk of contaminated wood coming into the city.

How you can help…

We ask residents not to buy any logs for winter fuel if the supplier cannot guarantee that the wood isn't elm. We also ask you not bring any elm timber into the city for use as garden ornaments, seating or anything else.

Our arboriculture team offers a free inspection of firewood and other timber.

If the wood is elm, we will dispose of it and give you a similar quantity free of charge.

We also ask residents to let us know about any elm tree they spot with leaves turning from green to yellow or brown or with a scorched look in the spring, and report any dead trees.

If you’re concerned about an elm tree, please contact us by emailing

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