Experts cure the Queens trees

The Queen may soon have experts from the University of Reading to thank for rescuing her horse chestnuts from the same fate as has befallen thousands of others around the country.

Around 3,000 trees have been removed due to health and safety concerns after they developed bleeding canker.

However, park, garden and greenhouse growing enthusiasts have been working to cure five specimens that stand in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, according to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS).

The professionals are working at three sites, including the 39-acre gardens in London, to develop a treatment for the disease.

Soil and moisture tests were carried out, before the pH level of the earth was altered and nutrients added.

After the ground was aired, organic matter, fertiliser, microrrhyzae and a mulch were also applied.

"Its about getting a balance with trees and the urban environment and trying to keep them as stress-free as possible," explained RHS head of arboretum at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Tony Kirkham.

Meanwhile, a recent article in the Examiner suggested gardeners in hot climates use mulch to keep weeks at bay and retain moisture.