Tree wardens set to branch out to beautify Seaford

Seaford elm trees
Seaford elm trees
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Dutch elm trees will be planted in the Chyngton area of Seaford next year after many diseased trees had to be removed.

Seaford tree wardens also have a full planting schedule for the coming autumn and spring to address the situation.

A new pilot venture this year will be planting wild flowers under some of the new trees.

Seaford tree warden chair Keith Blackburn said: “The worrying prospect of ash dieback spreading across Britain will bring back memories of Dutch elm disease for many people.

“Sussex still retains one of the largest populations of elms surviving in the UK because the South Downs provided a natural barrier against the disease.

“Nevertheless, each year elms are lost and many Seaford residents will have been dismayed to see the large number of elm trees succumbing to Dutch elm disease this year.

“Once the trees are attacked, the only course of action is to remove the tree to stop the disease spreading to other elms.”

Last year wardens worked with residents to plant more than 30 trees in Saltwood Road, The Shepway and Chyngton Avenue. This was so successful that residents in the same area asked for more trees too.

As a result wardens will plant more trees with the help of residents and children from Chyngton Primary School next spring.

Wardens will join forces with Mercread Youth Centre, Seaford Football Club and Seaford Rotary Club, to plant about 30 in Crouch Gardens on December 1 this year.

The tree wardens have been working with Cradle Hill School in Seaford, where a mini woodland of native species planted by children last spring is doing well.

And at Bowden House School, a mixture of native species will be planted to encourage wildlife and help screen new school buildings.

If the wild flowers planting pilot is successful, wardens may set up a ‘sister’ group to plant wild flowers and native bulbs in Seaford.

In fact wardens are planning to take part in the Great British Elm experiment run by the Conservation Foundation.

Elm saplings believed to be resistant to the disease are being planted all over the UK and will be studied to see if they remain healthy.

Keith added: “Elm disease tends to strike the trees when they are 15 - 20 years old, so it is a long term project.

“But worth it, we think, if it means that eventually these beautiful trees might make a return to our landscape.”

To volunteer with tree planting, wild flower planting or for more information contact Margery Diamand at margerydiamand@hotmail.com or 01323 873475, or Jenny Tillyard at walter.tillyard@btinternet.com.