TREES lining a picturesque entrance into Pocklington have been felled this week because of spreading disease.
Pocklington Town Council are being forced to shell out thousands of pounds to take down four old horse chestnut trees along West Green after they became infected with phlytopthra, also known as bleeding canker - which is an infection of the bark that causes black sticky fluid to seep through.
Many of them are also infected with leaf miner, a tiny moth which burrows into the leaves and causes them to turn brown prematurely.
After a large branch snapped from one of the trees recently, the council chose to bring in Shiptonthorpe tree surgeon Andy Harrison who found four of them around the field on West Green were suffering from phlytopthra.
Without an effective treatment in this country, they will deteriorate and cause the trees to weaken and pose a danger to the public.
Having spent this week cutting down the infected trees, he said: “Phlytopthra was not in this country ten years ago, it’s swept across from eastern Europe affecting specifically horse chestnut trees.
“There is a chemical that can be used and has been proven to be very successful, but it’s only available in America so we need to get it over here.
“You are always going to get people asking why we are cutting them down but these trees [on West Green] are in the last throes of life anyway and you can’t have branches falling onto the road.”
A mixed species of trees are set to replace the old horse chestnuts to prevent pests and disease attracted to one type of tree from spreading.
Mayor of Pocklington, Councillor Graham Perry said the town council had no choice but to bring down the affected trees.
He said: “The council are very disappointed to have to fell this trees but it will only get worse and they are a risk to the public, therefore we have responsibility.
“We will be replacing all the trees with substantive alternatives.
“It will leave some gaps so we intend to put in the biggest trees that we can. It’s costing a number of thousands of pounds but at the end of the day we have no option.”