UK conkers under threat

Garden and greenhouse enthusiasts could soon see horse chestnut trees come under attack from a pest that is thought to be spreading throughout the UK.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), Aesculus hippocastaneum is spreading at a rate of 40 miles per year and is threatening the famous British conker’s existence.

Caused by the Cameraria ohridelle moth, which was first detected by the RHS Entomology Service, the problem has been spreading outwards from Wimbledon in London for eight years, meaning Wales and Scotland have now been affected.

The moth’s larvae burrow into the leaf structure, weakening the trees by turning foliage brown and leaving them with little time to make and store food.

To make matters worse, the Pseudomonas syringae pv aesculi bacterium has re-awoken in the past four years and is attacking weak trees, causing bleeding cankers.

The combination of problems is enough to kill the entire tree.

In other news, the RHS recently reported that six urban parks across the UK are to share a £10 million windfall from the lottery-funded Parks for People project.