Formby Parish Council has received and published a copy of the latest Arboriculturalist's report on the state of the Horse Chestnut trees threatened with felling by Sefton Council.
To download and view the report use the link posted on the Parish Council Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/formbypc/
I have to confess to a little confusion regarding the outcome. The consultant is clear both of the trees concerned are not a risk to the public at the moment, each tree is;
currently structurally at a point where there is no risk to the general public.
Good news on first reading but, he also notes the trees are diseased, they exhibit signs of Bleeding Horse Canker. He writes;
Horse Chestnut Outside Boots Chemist
There is some exudate and minor superficial bark cracking associated with Bleeding Canker in several locations.
Horse Chestnut Tree Outside Cassidy’s shop
There is Bleeding Canker present, evident by brown staining and exudate.
In a later section of the report, there is a section that describes the nature and history of the Bleeding Canker infection in this country;
Until recently, the disease was considered to be uncommon and had only been reported from the south of England (Strouts and Winter, 2000).
Reports from 2003 indicate it has spread as far north as Glasgow.
Trees of all ages have been found with the disease, but the impact is most striking on large, mature trees.
And he concludes this section with the following paragraph;
Removal of an infected tree by felling to grounding level, grinding to remove the stump and disposal of all infected arisings, preferably by burning.
I've added screengrabs of extracts from the report below, but I recommend you read the full report for yourself. You may also find the Forest Research website a useful and additional resource, the relevant page is here: https://www.forestresearch.gov.uk/tools-and-resources/pest-and-disease-resources/bleeding-canker-of-horse-chestnut/bleeding-canker-of-horse-chestnutmanagement/
Note Forest Research is;
Great Britain’s principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research (www.forestresearch.gov.uk)
Their advice on the management of diseased trees and eventual disposal of them is quite sobering and demanding in the care needed to avoid the further transmission of the disease.
They also add this disappointing comment;
Our surveys and research reveal that where owners have replaced mature diseased trees with young horse chestnuts, some of the replanted trees have shown signs of infection within a few years. We therefore do not recommend replanting with the same species.
Formby may eventually have to accept that the sight of Horse Chestnut trees in our village will be a thing of the past.
Let's hope the disease does not infect other Horse Chestnut trees in the rest of Formby. Whatever the case, it's incumbent on both Sefton and Formby Parish Councils to look ahead and perhaps see this issue as an opportunity to renew the village and find opportunities to plant more trees throughout Formby.
Formby Parish Council first knew of this issue in 2011 (See: Village Trees Statement, seven years have now passed, is this the final point of no return?)
In summary, the trees are considered structurally safe at the moment, in the view of the Formby Parish Council Consultant, but his report confirms they are diseased and according to all the experts will need felling eventually.
In the meantime, they are likely to be a source for the spread of the disease because of the Chapel Lane location, lots of traffic movement and the unwitting transmission of the disease by conker collectors.
If you've taken one and planted it in your garden, you might want to uproot it.