Losing our conkers?

Horse Chestnut under attack by Leaf miner

As if the threat of Climate Change to our habitats was not enough one of the saddest stories is playing out in front of our eyes, and I for one was just not aware of it, whatsoever. In our parks, tree lined streets and Country Estates the Horse Chestnut Tree is under serious attack. This Horse Chestnut I photographed this week, in early September, at Anglesy Abbey, the National Trust Property just North of Cambridge. With its brown leaves and fallen conkers it looks more like the late Autumn but it is surrounded by very healthy trees of different species on all sides .

The mystery threat to our Horse Chestnut trees, conkers and indeed our cultural heritage turns out to be the Leaf miner a tiny moth that attacks the leaves. This would not be fatal to the tree but in such a weakened state the tree is then susceptible to the far more deadly canker see below:

Chestnut Threat

The Forestry Commision has issued an exotic pest warning about the leaf miner and has here plotted the slow creeping threat across Europe and now the UK.

If only Margaret Thatcher had tried as hard to stop these miners in their tracks in the seventies…


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