Elms in UK now protected against Dutch elm disease
Dutch Trig® is a proven biological vaccine for elms in the battle against Dutch elm disease (DED). Dutch Trig® is not only used in the Netherlands (since 1992), but is also being injected successfully in elms abroad (for instance in Sweden, Germany, the USA and Canada). After acquiring European admission for the Central Zone earlier this year, permission for the United Kingdom is now acquired as well. This year the first elms will be injected preventatively against DED in the United Kingdom.
Protection cultural heritage
That elms are ‘alive’ in the UK today, follows from the fact that a lot of volunteers are involved in the battle against DED. Elms represent an important scenic and cultural value to local residents and are important habitats for many rare British species including the White-letter Hairstreak butterfly.
One of the most important elm landscapes in Britain is found on the Sussex coast, where continued DED control programmes have allowed thousands of mature elms to survive. “It is important that we preserve our heritage for generations to come. Currently that means felling diseased trees to save others from becoming infected”, says Anthony Becvar, Elm Officer East Sussex. “The close proximity of Sussex to the coast of the English Channel results in cold winds from the sea making it a difficult area for the elm bark beetles to reach. These conditions, and our continued control programme, has resulted in one of the largest population of elms in the country.”
East Sussex elms to be trialled with Dutch vaccine
The license to trial Dutch Trig® has been welcomed with enthusiasm by The Conservation Foundation who have been supporting the elm landscape of the Sussex coast through the Ulmus Maritime project . James Coleman, from The Conservation Foundation, said: “The license for Dutch Trig® may bring a new tool for managing Britain’s elm trees. Elm protection programs have mostly relied on sanitation felling to help controlbeetle populations. Unfortunately, these measures are curative instead of preventative. Dutch Trig® offers a chance to protect the elms from Dutch elm disease, so we’re keen to trial the vaccine in Sussex.”
David Shreeve, Director of The Conservation Foundation, adds: “The elm has been a cherished feature of our life and landscape for centuries. Many have disappeared over recent years but this vaccine offers new hope for these magnificent trees and an opportunity to help protect the elm landscape on the Sussex coast for future generations to enjoy.”
Dutch Trig® triggers a reaction of the immune system and activates the natural defense mechanism of the tree. Because of this the tree recognizes Dutch elm disease quicker and can react to it in time so it can survive. It is a safe, easy and organic way of protecting elms. With the admission of Dutch Trig® in the United Kingdom a new chapter in elm protection has begun.