Water Mold Strikes Larch and Sweet Chestnut, Greno Woods
A highly destructive tree disease which is creating significant damage across the UK has reached Greno Woods. Phytophthora ramorum –a water mold –is attacking larch and sweet chestnut on the reserve.
Phytophthora translates to ‘plant destroyer’, and the genus has been responsible for some of the worst plant epidemics in history. It is wind and water borne and is now sweeping through South Yorkshire.
As there is no treatment for infected trees and the disease can spread rapidly, the scientific advice is to fell all vulnerable species of trees in an infected zone. Consequently, we received a Statutory Plant Health Notice from the Forestry Commission this spring, with felling to begin in late October.
Whilst the removal of larch was always part of our long-term vision for Greno, the loss of sweet chestnut in the affected area (the woodland above Sandy Lane) is a blow. Following this disease-control work, the Trust will work to create a more diverse, resilient broadleaved woodland for the future.
Phytophthora ramorum is a microscopic fungal-like organism which causes extensive damage and death to various species. Phytophthora translates to ‘plant destroyer’, and the genus has been responsible for some of the worst plant epidemics in history — including being the primary source of the infamous Irish potato famine in the 19th century.
Sadly, the disease has been confirmed across several sites in Sheffield, including at Wyming Brook nature reserve and some surrounding areas.
Frequently asked questions
Is all of Greno affected?
No, only the woodland above Sandy Lane and north into Hall Wood (see map)
Will all trees in the affected area be felled?
No, only the larch and sweet chestnut.
Will larch and sweet chestnut outside the affected area be removed?
The Trust has decided to remove mature larch in the areas adjacent to the infection zone, to hopefully avoid a further outbreak of this disease in the future. Only sweet chestnut inside the infection zone will be removed.
Update 11.12.23 : Forestry works are now underway and are expected to last until the end of February
Update 25.9.23 : Felling will begin in late October
Update 12.9.23 : Temporary Traffic Regulation Order, Greno Woods To facilitate public safety during the works and the safe removal of timber via Sandy Lane, the Trust has applied to temporarily close the Sandy Lane byway and a number of footpaths and sections of bridleway that cross the Sandy Lane woodstacking area. See map and details here.
Update 3.8.23 : Sweet chestnut in the disease control area immediately adjacent to Sandy Lane is now also to be removed due to spread of this disease.
What will happen after the removal of the infected trees?
Gaps in the canopy will allow native broadleaf trees and shrubs such as oak, birch, rowan and holly to regenerate naturally, as well as the chance for ground flora to develop where light reaches the forest floor. In time this should provide valuable wildlife habitat. Some planting of saplings will also take place in the most affected areas to kick-start reforestation.
Where can I find further information?
Planning for the works is still at an early stage. Therefore this broad information is intended to give as much advance notice of the issue and proposed works as possible. Please bookmark this page and keep referring back for any updates as and when they become available.
For any further immediate questions regarding this operation, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0114 263 4335.