Atlas Cedar disease hits Mold

The pink colour of the needles on affected Atlas cedars (left) is very characteristic of fungal disease Sirococcus tsugae

Blue Atlas Cedar trees are non-native stately, evergreen conifers that grace gardens and estates in the UK. They usually have beautiful blue needles, but trees in Mold have been spotted that are affected by the latest tree disease. The classic signs of a fungal disease called Sirococcus tsugae are when the needles turn pink, then brown before falling off. The ends of branches can curl over and weeping wounds (cankers) may occur.

The fungal disease was reported in the UK in 2013 and reached North East Wales a couple of years later, with a group of Atlas Cedars in Acton Park, Wrexham confirmed by the Forest Research Agency as being diseased cedar dieback, (Sirococcus tsugae). It can cause up to 70% defoliation and lead to the trees death. There are no effective control measures for the disease unfortunately.

As with all tree diseases, research is being carried out to find individual trees, which are showing resistance to the disease. By understanding why they’ve survived, it is hoped that other trees can be saved. Collecting seed from resistant trees is also important to maintain the species in future.

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