Disease-resistant elm trials

The English countryside was once dominated by elms, stately giants that watched over our landscape, providing a beauty of form and grace unique to these glorious trees. Since the 1960s, they have been ravaged by Dutch elm disease, a disease that was accidently introduced to Europe in the early 20th century. The disease is caused by a pathogenic microfungus carried by two species of elm bark beetle and has killed nearly all the mature elms in Britain, an estimated toll of 60-100 million trees.

The elm was historically one of the six major trees within our woodlands, widely used in landscaping and hosts more than 80 species of invertebrate, including several rare moths and the now endangered white-letter hairstreak butterfly.

We are trialling several different elm varieties that have been developed by specialised breeding programmes, with initial findings suggesting these cultivars can resist the disease and establish well. The planting locations are being mapped to help record future growth patterns, ability to resist the disease and how well the elms support biodiversity and nature recovery.

‘Re-elming’ Hampshire will provide a huge support to wildlife that relied on this once ubiquitous tree. HFP is funding further disease-resistant elm trees for farmers, landowners and community groups across the county.

Get in touch with us at [email protected] if you would like to plant elm trees.

FUNDING SUPPORT

We are supporting tree and hedgerow planting on farms and other eligible sites across Hampshire through our Shoots Along the Routes funding scheme.

3 ladies and an elm tree

a lady with an elm tree