Friday 25th May 2012
Gardeners are being asked to report instances of pear rust as part of a new survey.
The Sylva Foundation and the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) are working together to map incidences of European pear rust across the country.
During the past 10 years, the RHS Advisory Service has seen a steady increase in enquiries about the fungus, suggesting it is spreading.
People can help the survey, which is being run between May and September, as part of Oxfordshire-based The Sylva Foundation's TreeWatch project.
John David, RHS acting head of science, said: "We are keen for gardeners to get involved with this survey because we need to find out why the fungus is increasing in frequency. Having better records will help us understand the biology behind this fungus and therefore in turn hopefully how to control it."
Dr Gabriel Hemery, chief executive of Sylva, said: "With an increasing number of pests and pathogens impacting the health of our trees, the power of the citizen scientist is coming to the fore.
"Our collaboration during 2011 resulted in some important data that has now been shared with the National Biodiversity Network: the first time that disease data has been shared with this important national resource."
To complete the survey visit http://www.TreeWatch.com/pearrust.