The Great British Elm Experiment

Happy National Tree Week!

I can't think of a better way of celebrating than by planting a tree as part of The Great British Elm Experiment. This Conservation Foundation project aims to find out why some elms survived the Dutch elm disease epidemic during the 1960s and 70s which killed 25 million trees (around 90%) in the UK. If the why can be explained, it also paves the way for this iconic tree to grace our landscape once more.

Over two thousand trees have been planted so far and height, girth, wildlife, signs of disease and other data are being recorded as part of this long-term experiment. The disease usually strikes when the tree is around 15 years old, so this is a long-term project.

Trees are free for schools and community projects/non-profit organisations and there's a small charge for private individuals and businesses. Note: these trees grow very tall, so they need lots of space.

A fab elm fact:

Terry at The Botanic Nursery has surviving elms in his nursery garden in Atworth. He told me he keeps them below 4 feet in height as the beetle which acts as the disease carrier lands and feeds on taller trees.

NB A date for your diaries...

As part of National Tree Week, there's a 10-hour tweet-a-thon on Wednesday 27th November, from 9am until 7pm. You can pose your tree questions to a panel of experts who have a unique insight into trees and woods within the UK.

Find out more on the Tree Council's website and for details of which twitter names to use and when. The hashtag to use/follow is #NationalTreeWeek

NB The picture used to illustrate this post is the poster available to download on the Great British Elm Experiment website.


  1. We should all plant trees (if we have any space) and encourage others to do so, too.
    Hope the elms can make a comeback.
    Have a beautiful day!

  2. Great to know about these initiatives. I'm so glad people are trying hard to promote trees, especially the beautiful elms.


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