Barcham Trees quadruples horse chestnut production

Reports of the demise of horse chestnut may be premature. Barcham Trees has quadrupled production this year after leaf miner and canker problems declined in 2013 because of wet and cold weather.

Sales executive Clyde Seagrave said: "Local authorities dropped horse chestnut five or six years ago and we went from selling 500 a year to 25. But retail is one side where people want one for their garden."

Tree expert Professor Steve Woodward of Aberdeen University said at the recent Cheltenham Science Festival. "The best thing to do with them would be to cut them all down. They are being hit by pests and diseases which are so thoroughly established that we cannot get rid of them."

Seagrave said sweet chestnut, plane and oak were as popular as ever and wide stem birch, amelanchier and pleached trees were selling best.

Barcham is collecting seed from 300-year-old London planes at the Bishop's Palace Gardens in Ely to grow true stock. But Barcham remains in a banned area for ash movement.

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