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"Write something worth reading or do something worth writing" A blog by Amy Willis, a multimedia journalist based in London

Killer fungus in Cardiff garden centre

A GARDEN centre in Cardiff is infected with the killer fungus, Sudden Oak Death, the Plant Health and Seed Inspectorate and Forestry Commission confirmed today.

Both organisations refused to reveal the name of the infected garden centre and could not confirm if dog-walkers who failed to follow preventative measures in Cefn Onn Park had any part in the spread of the disease.

Sudden Oak Death, is a fungal plant disease from America that affects ornamental plants especially rhododendrons. It first hit the UK in April 2002 with the first case in Wales being recorded in Autumn 2004. Since then the amount of cases has increased. There are now 30 infected garden centres in Wales and 12 infected parks.

blue pegs are infected garden centres, red pegs are infected wild parks and gardens

Infected: blue pegs are infected garden centres, red pegs are infected wild parks and gardens

Dr Joan Webber, principal pathologist at the Forestry Commission, said: “Sudden Oak Death attacks the bark of trees. Infected tree bark oozes a black gummy liquid known as a bleeding canker as it dies. Infected trees are not contagious though, it is rhododendrons that spread the problem.

“We should have foot and mouth type foot baths in these areas to prevent the disease spreading but these are not in place.”

Cefn Onn Park in Thornhill, Cardiff, is infected with Sudden Oak Death and despite signs warning dog walkers to keeps their animals on leads, these warnings have been ignored.
A spokesperson from Cardiff County Council’s Parks department who did not want to be named said: “People are ignoring the signs to keep to the paths and to keep dogs on leads.

“People should be aware of just how serious the disease is. If it gets into the wild it may well be unstoppable.

“We are very concerned. If we find it we have to burn everything within five yards.”

Mike Pearce, 49, shrub manager at Pugh’s Garden Centre, Cardiff, said: ” We are vigilant and check our stock regularly. It is a nasty disease which spreads like wild fire. We want to make sure we do not play a part in provoking the spread of it.”

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Filed under: Cardiff News, Portfolio

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