DEAN GREEN TEAM

Wildlife Conservation Group in the

Forest of Dean

Gloucestershire

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23 August 2016

Edgehills Bog GWT Nature Reserve

Grid Ref SO660154

 

 

This was an unexpected day for us in August but we were called as the Forestry Commission have recently identified more Larch diseased plantations adjacent to the reserve which they have to fell with haste and they noticed that Edgehills heath has many larch saplings that could also propagate this disease. The generic name for the disease it causes is Phytophthora ramorum and is a fungus-like pathogen which causes extensive damage and mortality to a wide range of trees and other plants.

The FC asked us cut the saplings as soon as possible. We could not, nor need to burn the cut offs as they were relatively small and infrequent. Neither did we have to treat with herbicide. This means there is no reason for us to wait until autumn (especially as bird nesting season has passed also).

 

 

 

 

 

The summer team!

We are all lined up to walk through the reserve and spot any Larch saplings. The summer flowering heather was a joy to see and is well spread across the site.

 

 

 

 

This was the largest Larch we found and took a bit of sawing to remove!

Treatment and management

No cure has been found and there are no effective chemical treatments available. There are fungicides which can suppress the symptoms, but none will kill the pathogen. So the objective of any control approach must be to prevent or minimise any further spread of P. ramorum and the damage it causes. The best available scientific advice is to remove and kill the living plant tissue on which the organism depends for reproduction. In the case of infected larch, this means affected trees should be felled or otherwise killed as quickly as possible after detection of the disease and before the next spring or autumn period of sporulation begins on the needles.

 

 

 

 

 

One of our team members took a helicopter flight over the reserve and this is his photo of the site. The radio towers can be seen and the main track which goes through. Smaller tracks can also be seen which have been created by the Exmoor ponies.

 

 

 

 

This is a gorgeous photo of the Exmoor ponies tucking into their hay at the end of the winter.

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