A new disease killing oak trees could alter the British landscape even more than Dutch elm disease, woodland groups warned today as they called for more funding to tackle the problem. Acute oak decline is hitting both species of native oak, which show black bleeding on the trunk and stems and can suffer rapid dieback and death within three to five years. The disease has been found on 55 sites in the east of England, southern England and the Midlands, and experts warn other suspect cases have yet to be confirmed. Woodland charities and commercial forestry groups are calling for £10m over the next five years to investigate tree diseases, with acute oak decline a priority for research.
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