keane

The Plane trees around Barga under threat

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canker stain of plane trees attacking trees around barga

The Plane trees in and around Barga are under threat from a fungus which has already killed most of the plane trees in Forte dei Marmi before moving onto and decimating many of the famous trees on the walls of Lucca during the 80’s and early 90’s. Since then the canker stain fungus  has gradually moved up the valley and is now “knocking on the door of Barga”

This morning on the road to Gallicano, tree surgeons were already cutting down and removing many of the plane trees lining the road.

A disturbing number of trees have been marked with a large green M for Morto – already lined up for the chop.

It is probably only a question of time before the fungus makes it way up the mountainside to Barga.

{barganews} The Plane trees around Barga under threat{barganews} The Plane trees around Barga under threat{barganews} The Plane trees around Barga under threat{barganews} The Plane trees around Barga under threat

The cause of canker stain of plane trees is the fungus Ceratocystis fimbriata Ell. et Halsted, f.sp. platani Walter (=Cfp) (Ascomycotina, Ophiostomatales)

So how does the fungus do its dirty work ? Even a very small wound is enough to allow the mycelium to invade the plant tissue and start the infective process.The parasite can invade the tree at various levels: on the main or secondary branches subject to frequent pruning; on the trunk, always exposed to wounds from various causes, especially near ground-level; and on roots that emerge above-ground, as occurs with trees growing in compacted and anaerobic soils that are frequently encountered in street and city plantings.

In the 1940’s canker stain ravaged urban plantings of plane trees in the larger American cities along the Atlantic coast. During the second World War wood from infected trees was used to package materials for the war effort, and this is probably how the pathogen was introduced to the European continent, giving rise to the processes of infection here.

This supposition is borne out by the fact that the first centres of infection in Europe were in or near the major port cities: Naples, Livorno, Syracuse, Marseilles and Barcelona, which were very active during and after the second World War. It is likely that at first only one of these ports became ‘infected’ with the parasite from overseas, and that from this single point it spread out to other Mediterranean port cities.

The first epicentre of the disease in Italy is thought to have been the Naples-Caserta area (Cristinzio et al., 1973); this hypothesis is confirmed by the fact that, when the disease was detected for the first time at Forte dei Marmi in Tuscany, it had already killed many of the 200 year-old planes lining the Vialone Carlo III, the broad avenue that leads to the Palace of Caserta.

Canker stain did not assume an epidemic pattern until several years later, but then it spread in a dramatic manner through Italian cities, as it had done in North America before. A survey from Forte dei Marmi revealed that in the 20 year period 1972-1991, 90% of all planes there became infected and died. Subsequently the disease spread out from Forte dei Marmi to much of Versilia and to many towns of Tuscany: Massa Carrara, Lucca, Pisa, Livorno and Florence. – source;  Journal of Plant Pathology (1999)

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Deety
Guest

Cut that tree

Dog can’t pee

Nor can we

As others now see

Monacu
Guest
Monacu

As an admirer of poetry, may I humbly add my voice to the building tide behind one simple request: Caro Deety, please stick to prose!

Deety
Guest

Sorry, just a bit of poetic frolics.

Viviano
Guest
Viviano

This reminds me all too vividly of the Dutch Elm fungus, which struck the U.S. Midwest in the late 1950s and destroyed the tall, deep green shade trees that arched over residential streets. Within a few years, the elms were gone, following upon an earlier epidemic that had killed most of the country’s American chestnuts at the end of the 19th century. In both cases, the effect on the look and feel of cities was devastating. Let’s hope we’re not in for a similar experience here in Tuscany…

poetry
Guest

While I am a great admirer of Monacu as well, I enjoyed your little ditty deety.

Monacu
Guest
Monacu

Okay P., I repent:

In summers dry and winters sleety,
With symbols stark or downright meaty,
Galloping dactyls and iambic feety
There ain’t no ditty beats our Deety’s.

poetry
Guest

O ye sinner
For that is a winner
And well worth the time
That was spent

Deety
Guest

Monacu, Do you mean that you re-Pent-ameter…:

I had to look up what you were on about, am I right in saying..

da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM da DUM

Monacu
Guest
Monacu

Deety: No. It’s Dum, Dummer, Dummest.

Speaking of my poem, of course.