Sunday, 31 August 2008

Horse Chestnut Trees

As an ‘artist’ I’m inspired by many things and most of them are from nature. I love the colour of the sky in mid summer and the colour of new green leaves. I find the damp over cast winters dull and wish for crunchy red leaves to smash through in autumn instead of damp piles of brown slush.
My favorite tree has got to be the Horse Chestnut, with its hand like leaves, massive size and deep summer shadow. And best of all its one of the first trees to wake up after the long winter sleep. I wait with baited breath as a green haze seems to cover them and then they unfurl, a splash of green against all the gray and brown of winter.
So you can imagine my horror on reading that ‘Chestnut trees will be gone in a decade.’
I had noticed that many of the chestnut trees in the area had looked rather brown round the edges almost from the time they opened their leaves in the spring, and if we’d had a scorching summer I could have understood it.
But now I’ve read in the local paper how the browning is coursed by leaf miner moths who burrow into the leaf, eating the internal tissue as it goes. Not only that but they are suffering from bleeding canker too.
Due to our short and mild winters there isn’t enough cold to kill off the bugs, so they are attacked season after season until they are so weak they die.
The experts think that collecting the leaves and composting them will help, but so many of these trees are in parks or along roads - they don’t belong to anyone so no one will take the leaves away.
I hate to think that these grand old trees will go the way of the elms, but it looks increasing likely.

No comments: