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Essential tree work: sweet chestnuts

Over the next 10 – 12 weeks essential tree felling work will be taking place in Ecclesall Woods. It concerns several sweet chestnuts that are severely affected by the Phytophthora fungus. The disease kills the roots of trees and other woody plants, hence the common garden name ‘root rot’. This weakens the tree and allows honey fungus to set in and once it does, trees rapidly decay and become a potential health and safety risk.

Phytophthora affecting a felled tree

Phytophthora attacks both young and old trees and is particularly bad in Wood 1, where the wet conditions allow for rapid spread of this water-borne pathogen.

If we continue to experience a much wetter weather pattern, as we have in recent years, then there is a real risk that sweet chestnuts will go into decline throughout the Woods over the next 12 months.

Much of the timber will be going to the sawmill for wood fuel or to the Council’s Beauchief Nursery to be made into log barriers for various parks and woodlands. Where suitable felled trees will be left in situ as habitat, this includes leaving some trees as standing deadwood habitat for the many organisms that inhabit or feed on decaying wood.