Affliction

I have decided to write this post because other people may be suffering similar problems. They may not know what it is or may just be too embarrassed to talk about it, so we need to bring it out into the open.

Cameraria ohridella or Horse Chestnut leaf miner.Horse Chestnut leaf miner

Horse Chestnut leaf miner

Horse Chestnut leaf minerThis is a relatively new pest of the Horse Chestnut. It was first seen in Greece in the 1970’s and it made it’s way across Europe arriving here in 2002.

It was first observed in Wimbledon, London and since then it has been spreading outward at a rate of about 25 to 40 miles a year. There may still be parts of Wales, Cornwall and the North that remain unaffected but it is coming.

Horse Chestnut Leaf MinerI haven’t checked all of the Horse Chestnut around here but in the area where I first noticed it every single Horse Chestnut is affected.

It is caused by the larvae of a moth and the key to identifying this particular pest is to hold the leaf up to the light, you should be able to see through the dark areas.

Horse Chestnut Leaf MinerThe “good news” is that it doesn’t do any harm to the tree. The larvae only become active quite late in the season and the leaves have already done what is most needed of them.

It is just an eyesore. A blight on an otherwise beautiful tree.

Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner

Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner

There is a much more serious threat to the Horse Chestnut called “Bleeding Canker” and that is what raised my concern in the first place but that is characterised by stains which look like bleeding on the trunk of the tree. That one can kill trees.

Still I think that it is pretty serious if all of our beautiful Horse Chestnuts are going to be disfigured like this.Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner

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6 thoughts on “Affliction”

    1. Thanks for the comment Gin πŸ™‚ I am still trying to assess just how bad the situation is around here but at the moment it seems to be every single tree that I have looked at is affected. Harm is done…

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  1. My Mum-in-law said she’s been sweeping up all the horse chestnut tree leaves that fall in Autumn and burning them – after a couple of years of this the trees look much better…could that be keeping the miners under control??

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    1. That sounds like a great idea and I am pleased it is working for her πŸ™‚ As it is transmitted by moths I am afraid that here I would have to sweep the forest and that is 27,000 acres. I would need a big broom πŸ™‚ I know that here they are studying how nature fights back. Native parasitoid wasps are attacking the moth larvae but if the wasps were effective in controlling the moths then it seems to me that we would just end up with way too many parasitoid wasps to the detriment of other species. I am sure that nature will restore the balance but that takes a lot of time.

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