Page last updated at 15:31 GMT, Thursday, 2 July 2009 16:31 UK

Fresh hope in tree disease fight

Hailes Abbey, Cheltenham
The abbey has already lost 25 horse chestnut trees

A new treatment for a debilitating condition affecting Britain's horse chestnut trees is to be tried out in Gloucestershire.

Hailes Abbey in Winchcombe has lost 25 trees to bleeding canker, with several more showing signs of the disease, a National Trust spokesman said.

The disease causes branches of the chestnut trees to die and drop off.

The new treatment involves a bacterial agent which travels around the tree, fighting the infection.

In March this year, more than 40 diseased trees were felled at Barrington Court, near Ilminster in Somerset.

An avenue of chestnuts that lined the entrance to the historic Avebury estate in Wiltshire was also felled.

Horticulturalists at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew, have compared the problem to Dutch elm disease.

Latest figures show there are about 470,000 horse chestnut trees in Britain, of which 432,000 are in England.

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