Disease-free elm returns to the UK

Belfast and London take part in Europe-wide reintroduction

New “disease resistant” elm trees have returned to two UK capitals. Eighty Ulmus ‘New Horizons’ have been injected with Dutch elm disease and crossed to strengthen resistance, and will be planted this week in London and Belfast as part of a Europe-wide reintroduction programme (HW, 18 December). Hampshire’s Hillier Nurseries is supplying the trees. Company president John Hillier said ‘New Horizons’ will be a “very useful street tree” for local authorities to buy (for around £85 for a 15cm rootball tree), but will not replace the English elm because of its smaller size and different leaf shape. City of Westminster senior arboricultural officer Paul Akers said he would add the tree to his shopping list if it performed well. London boroughs Barnet, Tower Hamlets, Southwark, Redbridge, Merton, Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Wandsworth, and Barking & Dagenham, and the Corporation of London will be taking trees. A Belfast launch planting will take place on 8 June. Carrickfergus, North Downs, Castlereagh and Newton Ards borough councils will be taking trees. Cardiff will plant an avenue of the trees in 2005.

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