A new solution is being developed and deployed in the UK that, allegedly, can cure dozens of tree diseases. The main component? Garlic – or more specifically – allicin, a chemical produced by garlic in the wild that usually only lasts 5-10 minutes. A company in Wales, that plans to product the organic process by the beginning of 2015, has come up with a process to force allicin to keep for up to a year.
The solution is just the first step to the arboreal cure-all. The process of administering the antidote is also being tested. Right now, the process calls for the allicin to be injected into the trunk of an ailing tree, using a pressurized chamber with eight “octopus” tubes. The medicine is then drawn up through the neurological system of the tree. In trees that have been treated, crushing the outer leaves will often leave a faint odor of garlic.
Thus far, 60 horse chestnut trees with bleeding canker have been treated. The active agent was effective in killing the disease in every case. Oak trees infected with chalara, a pathogen that causes acute oak decline, have reacted positively to allicin treatments in 95% of cases.
There are a few drawbacks to the new drug. First, it is an expensive treatment. So, while it may be useful for trees of historic or sentimental value, it’s not very practical for large-scale treatment. There is also some controversy in the scientific community about “biological control” and whether or not trees would benefit from preventative treatments moreso than curative treatments.
Spruce Point Tree Farm is always looking for new ways to protect their stock. Contact us today for all of your arboreal needs.