Read about the life and work of the Attingham Wardens

Attingham Park is a National Trust property comprising of an 18th Century mansion set in a Repton landscape; the Park and wider Estate includes a deer park, walled garden, several miles of the rivers Severn and Tern, extensive farmland and woodlands.

Thursday, 11 July 2013

Attingham, Oaks and AOD

There has been another sudden media interest in Acute Oak Decline (AOD) in the Midlands this week. Yesterday a photographer from the Shropshire Star came to take some pictures of some oaks (and, unfortunately, me) for part of a story that they are running this week. AOD has been around in the UK for a while - this article from the Forestry Commission explains that the disease has been present for 20-30 years, though it now seems to be on the increase.

Attingham is affected - regular visitors will know that the path through Rookery Wood from the Stables down to the Mansion was closed off earlier this year to keep people away from the affected trees, and in 2010 Estate Manager Bob Thurston appeared on the BBC's 'Inside Out' program showing how Attingham has been working closely with experts studying the disease in an effort to find out how exactly it is spread and how we can tackle the issue before it becomes too widespread. The disease affects the food system of trees, decaying the stem tissues that transport food from the leaves to the roots, effectively cutting off the nutrient flow and slowly killing the tree. It also weakens the tree's immune system, leaving it more susceptable to attack from fungus and insects.

While we do have infected trees, it's not all doom and gloom as many of our oaks are still healthy and disease-free; and in a few cases, Bob has noted an improvement of symptoms in infected trees. Research is ongoing and we will continue to support studies by providing them with samples of infected tissues and insect trapping as we have done so far.

In other news, we have had a mobile sawmill in this week, cutting up some of the huge butts from the trees we had to fell for Severn Trent in Ismore Wood. The timber will be used in future projects around the estate.

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