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Candide Cuttings: Free trees, Royal Oak and Rose rosette vitus

Published on 12th April 2019

Free trees for schools

The Woodland Trust is offering free trees for schools and communities.

The non-profit organisation wants to provide the opportunity to everybody in the UK to have the chance to plant trees.

Organisations wishing to order trees have to fill out an application and choose their preferred ‘Tree Packs’.

Packs vary in size from the ‘Urban’ package with 15 trees to a range of packages containing up to 420 trees. Communities applying now will receive their trees in November 2019.

The initiative is supported by Sainsbury’s, Players of People’s Postcode Lottery and Yorkshire Tea.

Additional funding from DEFRA means the Woodland Trust can also give away a further 100,000 trees a year until 2020 to eligible schools.

Apply through the Woodland Trust website.

Picture by New College Stamford/WTML.

Restoring the Royal Oak

Young shootings have been collected from the Royal Oak to propagate by grafting.

The oak tree, standing in Boscobel Wood, is the tree in which King Charles II hid after he was defeated in the Battle of Worcester.

Nick Dunn from Frank P Matthews used a mobile platform to reach the highest parts of the tree and collect the young shoots.

They will be planting the new trees in the field surrounding the existing ‘Royal Oak’ to create a new woodland. English Heritage would like to recreate the forest that once surrounded the ancient tree.

Dunn said: "Our specialist propagation skills naturally lend themselves to interesting projects such as these and we are keen to help preserve important varieties for the future. Recent investment in our propagation facilities will help support these projects and our continually expanding nursery production."

Breakthrough: rose rosette virus

Scientists have discovered important information about the mites which spread the rose rosette virus.

Researchers produced pictures for the first time of the rosebud mite (Phyllocoptes fructiphilus) hiding deep in the flower’s internal organs. The mite is half the size of a grain of salt.

By embedding itself deeply among the inner floral parts, the rosebud mite can avoid sprays or other treatments applied as controls.

Rose Rosette is an incurable disease which distorts the plant's natural growth pattern which eventually leads to the death of the infected rose.

The virus is widely reported in the US and Canada, but it’s not yet present in the UK.

According to UK chief plant health officer Nicola Spence, keeping the disease out of the UK is ‘priority’.

She said: ‘Rose rosette virus is not present in the UK and we are continuously working to ensure that foreign threats are kept away. However, we also need to better understand the threat they pose and this research by the University of Newcastle will provide essential intelligence on how to tackle these emerging pests and diseases.’

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