Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Browned trees battered by storms

Experts from Forestry Commission Scotland are allaying public fears over
the "browning" of many trees on the west coast of Scotland.

Although the trees may look unhealthy, it is hoped that most will
recover over time.

Experts are citing the exceptionally strong winds and salt laden sea air
of 23 May as the cause for 'scorching' the trees and turning them brown.

Many broadleaved trees and larches have been affected and, to a lesser
extent, pine and other conifers. The main geographical area affected
appears to stretch from Dumfries and Galloway north to Fort Wiliam on
the western seaboard.

Hugh Clayden, Tree Health policy adviser for Forestry Commission
Scotland said:

"We've had a number of calls from worried members of the public who have
seen large areas of trees turning brown for apparently no reason. Their
first thought is that they are in bad health due to disease.

"We're very grateful for these calls but we are quite sure that what is
being reported here is usually a result of the recent very strong winds
coupled with salt-laden air on the coast. Basically the trees' delicate
new leaves and needles have been dried out as well as physically damaged
by the exceptional winds."

Browning and leaf wilt is also apparent inland but does not yet appear
to be anything like as severe. Other causes of extensive browning
include the severe winter frosts.

Mt Clayden added:

"We will be examining trees to see if the buds and twigs are still
alive. If they are, recovery should take place this year and next. If
not, some die-back of branches is likely to occur - although we would
still expect most trees to recover unless they suffer further extreme

If for some reason trees continue to show signs of ill health in a month
or two then Forestry Commission Scotland would welcome reports from the