A national trial has been launched to help find disease-resistant elms that will be able to survive future outbreaks of Dutch Elm Disease. Sheffield’s Greno Woods nature reserve was chosen as one of the test sites and the planting of 24 saplings took place this morning with the help of the Sheffield & Rotherham Wildlife Trust and a group of volunteers.
The project is led by Dr David Herling, a leading expert on elms, with the aim of establishing eight experimental plantations across the UK in a variety of climate and soil conditions. Greno Woods is the latest site to be included in the initiative and the costs were covered by a crowdfunding campaign, launched by local elm-enthusiast Paul Selby.
Some of the varieties chosen for the elm plantation are so new that they have yet to be properly named. It will be roughly ten years before there is enough tree growth to judge the project’s outcome, however it is wonderful to see the early stages of attempts to reintroduce this iconic tree species back into the British landscape. If successful the experiment will definitively establish which elm to plant in what location to ensure the best chance of surviving Dutch Elm Disease.