New disease strikes horse chestnut trees

January 6, 2006

British and Dutch researchers say a new tree disease is attacking horse chestnuts trees -- striking some 40,000 trees in Britain last year.

After a hint of yellow in the leaves one summer, the whole tree dies within the year. Tree pathologists thought the disease was related to a Phytophthora fungus commonly called sudden oak death, the Times of London reported Friday.

"Now we realize it's something different," said Clive Brasier, of Forest Research, part of the British Forestry Commission. "We don't know what it is. It's more aggressive and it's being found all over the country."

Several large horse chestnut tees have died neat Marble Hill Park in London, near Bushey Hill Park where four colonnades of horse chestnut trees range above the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

Dutch scientists have been trying to isolate the cause of the disease.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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