October 17th – I’ve been casually interested into the decomposition of the robin’s pincushion gall I found in the summer in Darlaston.
This once beautiful red and green hairy, spiny gall – created by a tiny wasp laying it’s DNA corrupting eggs in the rose leaf buds of it’s host – is now decaying fast and I’m interested to see how this ball of plant matter wastes away, and if it shows any evidence of the adult gall wasps escaping to freedom.
I’ll never stop being fascinated by these things.
July 13th – I’m sad to see the huge horse chestnut trees on Stafford Park in Telford are suffering for the first time I think with leaf miner parasites.
These tiny larva destroy the leaves of the host tree from within, and although leaving the host pretty much unharmed, they bring on an ‘early autumn’ but causing the leaves to become blotchy and brown.
It looks worse than it is, but it’s a sad end to the season for many a beautiful tree.
Hopefully the current wave of these insects will pass soon.
June 29th – Spotted on the cycleway near Telford station, this oddly tortured oak tree. Generally with a healthy appearance, look closely and the tree is covered in insect galls, whereas the acorns that it has grown are oddly mutated and tiny. The leaves also seem subject to some kind of leaf miner attack.
I feel sorry for the oaks – they seem far more susceptible to such attacks and diseases than other trees. I’m not arborialist – is there a reason why the noble oak suffers so very much?