Tree sales vary in performance as pests and diseases impact on market

Pests and diseases continue to diminish the horse chestnut and ash markets, say growers, but branch-fall scares have had no impact on cedar and eucalyptus sales.

Majestic Trees managing director Steve McCurdy said post ash dieback and horse chestnut leaf miner: "I don't sell ash trees and horse chestnut sales are very slow. Regular Aesculus hippocastanum hardly ever sells anymore. Aesculus carnea sells somewhat but does not replace hippocastanum."

He said of cedar: "These things are blown out of proportion. Will people stop buying cars because of car crashes? I don't think so. Lots of trees can have brittle branches and cedar trees look the shape they do because of storm damage. People like them because of their irregular look. No-one has mentioned it or come into store and said 'I'm not buying that tree' because of this reason."

Barcham Trees sales director Keith Sacre said: "Cedar and eucalyptus sales remain the same. Nobody is buying ash and horse chestnut sales have fallen."

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell added oak to the list and said cedar and eucalyptus planters "don't see 20 or 100 years in advance".

A Lebanese cedar branch fell and killed a Kew visitor in September 2012 and in winter 2013-14 the worst storms since 1987 saw large tree loss. This was confirmed in a National Trust survey of 50 sites that lost up to 500 trees each.

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