Could you help reverse the fortunes of the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly by planting a disease resistant elm tree?
The deadly Dutch Elm Disease (DED) has decimated nearly all of the UKs large mature elm trees. Mature elms have their own unique biodiverse species mix of lichens and insects, many of which declined as elm trees have disappeared. The most famous species dependent solely on elms is the White letter Hairstreak butterfly, whose abundance has declined by up to 78% in England since 1976 (The UK Butterfly Monitoring Scheme & State of UK Butterflies).
Now Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust and NESST are working together in partnership on the Elms and Hairstreaks Initiative which aims to make our region a place where both species can thrive again.
After 50 years of research and breeding, there are now DED resistant elm trees which can be purchased from specialist nurseries, and we want you to help us plant them here!
Participate in the initiative and help plant a young sapling – in your garden, on your land, or even in one of our nature reserves or a Sheffield City Council park (likely Norfolk Park)- and you could transform the fortunes of both species.
How it works
To plant your own elm:
- Order your DED Resistant sapling(s)! Online ordering is available via our Eventbrite, booking a timeslot to collect. The price of each sapling is just £20 (plus Eventbrite fees). Available timeslots are: Friday 2 December 10am-12midday, Monday 5 December 1-3pm, Wednesday 14 December 10am-12midday and Saturday 17 December 10am-12midday
- Collect your sapling. Bring your e-ticket during your chosen timeslot to collect your tree sapling. Collection is from Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust, Victoria Hall, 37 Stafford Road, Sheffield, S2 2SF
- Plant your Elm tree sapling. Plant in a suitable location and allow it to grow. Elm grows best in well-drained soil in hedgerows and woodland. The saplings are approximately 2.5 metres tall, and have the potential to grow to 30 metres in maturity! Please arrange suitable transport (e.g. flatten back seats of a car). Bringing a large bag such as a binbag is advisable to wrap the muddy base of the saplings. It is really important that you let us know during the checkout process where you plan to locate it, so we can map and record DED resistant Elm locations across the city
- Record your wildlife sightings. Over the coming years we aim to evaluate the success of the initiative by recording the population of White-letter Hairstreak butterflies and other species, and would appreciate you helping us to do so by recording your sightings to the Nature Counts database via our website
To gift an elm to be planted on a Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust Nature Reserve or suitable Sheffield City Council location:
Photograph © Ben Keywood