A mature Ulmus on the doorstep of the Horticulture Research Institute at Wellesbourne, in Warwickshire, could offer hope in the quest to return the Dutch elm disease-ravaged species to the UK.
Managing director Neil Wright
of Micropropagation Services, in Leicestershire, said he hopes to use the tree to improve his cloning project after correspondence in Horticulture Week mentioned his name. Wright said: “It has the potential to bulk up the clones’ resistance. We may take spring-growth shoots from the crown or if it’s suckering, that’s ideal. We only need a small piece.”
Wright has been cloning from an apparently disease-resistant elm from Cambridgeshire for a decade and has sold 2,000 50p plugs to nurseries, although he said demand is low as he cannot guarantee disease resistance.
HRI forestry and woodland specialist Karen Russell said: “There is a chance the tree has a form of natural resistance, but it could just be Dutch elm disease has not come across it yet. We’re not planning any work with the tree, as we don’t have funds to research at present.”
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