Cheeky Chestnuts… Naughty

There’s something comforting and yet majestic about the fabulous horse chestnut tree, I find. These ancient wonders fill our parks in both the city regions and countryside – but of course, this being a London wildlife challenge, we will be talking about the city trees (naturally…)

Everyday on my commute to the University College of London (where I’m currently interning) I have to walk through two parks. Both of these parks are ‘fenced’ by rows of beautifully established horse chestnuts trees. However, today I couldn’t help but notice that autumn had come suspiciously early in the world of a horse chestnut tree. The leaves are golden and crispy and had already fallen off. Something is wrong here… So what could possibly be causing this early ‘wintering’ of trees?… Climate change?

Nope! On further inspection and just a hint of research (because help me I need a proper job… and indeed a life) I found the cause to be the famous ‘Horse chestnut leaf miner’ (Cameraria ohridella) – an exotic insect pest which specifically resides in horse chestnut trees. It was first reported in the UK in 2002, in the London Borough of Wimbledon, and has since spread north, south and west to most of England. Bollocks.

Photographic evidence….

© Eve Sanders (ToobysTravels)

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