Help fight Dutch elm disease across Lewes district

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YOU can help fight Dutch elm disease by registering to join the Elm Protection Volunteers.

East Sussex has the largest population of mature English elms in the world and a Dutch elm disease control area from Falmer to Pevensey was established in 1973 to help protect them.

Towns like Seaford, Lewes and Newhaven have concentrations of the trees and the County Council is asking people to join the team before a welcoming event for the new volunteers on May 26.

Elm Protection Volunteers work with the Dutch elm disease officer, patrolling specific villages, parishes or areas across the control zone and reporting sick trees so they can be dealt with appropriately, reducing the spread of the disease.

Dutch elm disease has killed millions of elm trees in the UK since its arrival in 1971 and the only way to reduce the spread of the disease is to fell and burn those trees that have been infected, before, or as they become, a host for breeding beetles.

Infected trees can be identified by the brown and yellow wilting leaves at the tips of the branches.

These gradually spread throughout the canopy as the tree shuts off its water supply, hoping to trap the fungus in the infected limb.

Councillor Carl Maynard said: “By registering to become an Elm Protection Volunteer and coming to our training event, you can help us fight the spread of Dutch elm disease and help look after the largest population of mature English elms in the world.”

You can report any sightings of diseased trees by telephone, email or through the council’s online “Report A Fault” system.

Its website also has helpful hints on how to spot the disease and what to look out for.

If people are unsure then they should contact the Dutch elm disease officer who can verify the sightings.

The event to welcome and train new and existing Elm Protection Volunteers will take place on the May 26 at the Seven Sisters Country Park.

To register an interest in becoming a volunteer and register for the event, or to report a Dutch elm disease sighting, got to www.eastsussex.gov.uk/reportafault or email to dutchelmdisease@eastsussex.gov.uk or call 0345 60 80 193.

For more information see: www.eastsussex.gov.uk/environment/woodlands/dutchelms