Taking steps to protect our precious elm trees

We’re taking steps to protect the city’s precious elm trees for the future.

200 elm trees across the city will be inoculated on 23 and 24 May 2023.

As well as the remaining Preston Park twin, we have chosen a further 199 elms located in Royal Pavilion Garden, Valley Gardens and The Level to receive the treatment.

The treatment makes it possible to protect our trees from elm disease for 1 year and when administered annually, for years to come.

Specialist treatment

We’re using an organic product called Dutch Trigg to inoculate the trees, which is injected directly into the trunks of elm trees using a specialist tool.

The tool is designed so that the newest growth ring in the tree trunk can be pierced without damaging older rings which prevents the spores of previous infections being released and infecting the tree again.

This method of inoculation ensures a direct uptake by the tree.

The trees must be treated in spring before their leaves reach full growth and the beetles carrying the deadly elm tree killing fungus emerge.

The work will be carried out by tree specialists at Bartlett Tree Experts.

Our beautiful collection

Elms remain the dominant tree across the city with an estimated growing population of more than 17,000.

Our beautiful elm collection supports biodiversity in Brighton & Hove, including offering a habitat for white-letter hairstreak butterflies which feed on our elms.

Due to the success of our elm disease control programme, Brighton & Hove is the holder of the National Elm Collection.

Sad loss of elms

We’ve sadly lost many trees to elm disease over the years, which we remove as part of our elm disease conservation work.

Each summer, our arboriculture team faces a battle across the city against the tiny beetles carrying elm disease.

The disease spreads very fast so the removal of infected trees is done as quickly as possible to control the infection spreading further to neighbouring trees.

Tackling elm disease

Tackling elm disease 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 used 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 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’ll 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 spring and report any dead trees you see around the city.

If you’re concerned about an elm tree, please contact us by emailing elmdisease@brighton-hove.gov.uk.

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