Many of you know Penllergare for its beautiful landscape, the lakes and views, but it is also suffering from its own epidemic
You may have seen the Trust mark and fell some of the large ash trees that are on site. This is due to a disease called Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) This fungus kills the leaves, makes the wood brittle and eventually causes the tree to die. You can see the tips of the branches bare as the leaves die back from the top of the tree. It is a great shame and we have lost millions of trees across the UK. It is hoped that some will be resistant and we can repopulate the Country’s Ash trees from these survivors.
Another disease which will have a much bigger impact on Penllergare is Phytophthora Ramorum This is from the same family of algae that caused the potato blight and subsequently the Irish potato famine. Phytophthora affects mostly Larch trees and Rhododendron (of which Penllergare Valley Woods has many acres)
Over coming years the Trust will be removing all the larch from Penllergare to ensure it doesn’t contribute to the spread of the disease. This is very costly and will have a huge impact on the landscape of the Valley. However, it is absolutely necessary.
On a positive note the removal of the larch will provide the opportunity to replant the areas with broadleaf trees to create native woodland rather than the existing forest plantation. The Trust will be engaging schools and community volunteers as the larch is removed.
Obviously this work is very expensive so the Trust will over the next few months be suggesting ways in which you can get involved to support the work and safeguard Penllergare’s trees and wildlife for the future.