THE TELEGRAPH reports tossing apple cores out of the car window could be destroying Britain’s last wild apple trees, experts have warned. Researchers from the Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh said they had discovered trees which have sprouted from supermarket varieties growing along the verges of motorways.
And genetic studies of crab apple trees – Britain’s last wild variety – show that in some areas more than half are now hybrids, after cross-pollinating with domesticated varieties.
BBC NEWS reports the elm tree can return to the British countryside, given a helping hand, according to a new report. More than 20 million trees died during the 1960s and 1970s from Dutch elm disease. In the aftermath, the elm was largely forgotten, except among a handful of enthusiasts who have been breeding elite elms that can withstand attack. The research is showing promise and there is reason to be hopeful, said the Future Trees Trust charity.
Report author, Karen Russell, said mature specimens have been identified that are hundreds of years old, and have mysteriously escaped the epidemic. And a new generation of elm seedlings are being bred, which appear to be resistant to the disease.
The Telegraph reports the Woodland Trust is asking one million people to each plant a tree to fight climate change after the government failed to meet targets.
Today the conservation charity launched its ‘Big Climate Fightback’ campaign after figures showed just 1,420 hectares (3,500 acres) of woodland was created in England last year, far short of the 5,000-a-year (12,000 acres) which was promised.
The Independent reports tens of thousands of trees planted to mitigate the environmental impact of the High Speed Rail 2 (HS2) route have died following the 2018 summer drought.
More than one-third of saplings planted in 2017-18 had to be replaced a year later, bosses admitted, as they said putting in new plants was cheaper than keeping the old ones alive. Some 89,000 trees planted between November 2017 and March 2018 later died, out of a total of 234,000 – or 38 per cent.
The BBC reports an outbreak of ash dieback disease is set to cost the UK in the region of £15 billion, it has been estimated.
Scientists expressed shock at the “staggering” financial burden on taxpayers. The authors warn that the cost of tackling the fallout from ash dieback far exceeds the income from importing nursery trees.
The Times reports that a developer has been forced to remove netting placed around trees to prevent birds from nesting after coming under attack from neighbours and the writer Sir Philip Pullman.
Sladen Estates covered 11 trees with netting on a site near the River Wey in Guildford where it plans to build 361 student bedrooms, even though work has not yet started. Developers are banned from damaging bird nests so sometimes net trees off during the nesting season. However, Sladen admitted that it had no plans to start working on the site until the end of the year, long after the nesting season is over.