South Korean seed collecting trip could shed light on ash-dieback disease
ARBORIST Tomas Dewey is to travel to South Korea on a seed collecting trip later this month which could provide experts with a greater insight into ash-dieback disease.
The nine-day expedition, which is being funded by a private donor, will see Westonbirt Arboretum's Tomas Dewey travel to the Korean peninsula to collect seeds from the wild.
In recent years, the Forestry Commission's National Arboretum at Westonbirt has participated in a number of overseas gathering trips, with the aim of diversifying its tree collection.
The list of seeds targeted for collection during the visit to South Korea includes ash species native to Asia, for which the arboretum has had to obtain special permission to acquire.
These will add to the arboretum’s existing collection and may also prove valuable in helping Westonbirt’s arborists develop a more in-depth understanding of chalara fraxinea, otherwise known as ash dieback disease.
"New trees and shrubs are the lifeblood of the arboretum and seed collected from naturally-growing trees is invaluable for collections with scientific objectives," said Westonbirt’s director Simon Toomer.
Tomas will be joined on his South Korean quest by staff from the Forestry Commission's National Pinetum at Bedgebury and experts from Wakehurst Place, home to Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank, where some of the newly-collected seeds will also be deposited.
The team will also be accompanied by their South Korean counterparts from the Korea National Arboretum.
"This is a fantastic opportunity to work with other botanical collections in the UK and forge relationships with our contacts overseas," said Tomas.
"I’m looking forward to bringing back some interesting species for Westonbirt’s tree collection."
You can keep up-to-date with Tomas’ preparations and progress on the Korea 2013 seed collecting blog by visiting: koreaseed2013.blogspot.co.uk.
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