Historic trees dating back two centuries could be lost forever, according to an Aberdeen councillor.
Hazlehead, Queen’s Cross and Countesswells councillor Martin Greig believes an entire population of trees in Union Terrace Gardens could be lost to Dutch elm disease (DED), which has plagued the north-east for 20 years.
Some trees in the gardens are already affected by the disease.
Council officials confirmed that elms in Osborne Place and Johnston Gardens have already had to be cut down because of the disease, which gradually kills trees by preventing water from reaching the branches.
Cllr Greig said: “It is a problem right across the city and the area.
“It’s very sad that we are in the course of losing many fine and historic trees in the city.
“The disease has been unstoppable in its spread and care needs to be taken to ensure that diseased trees are removed appropriately and safely.
“The elms on Osborne Place were very mature.
“The community were upset because they were so special.
“They were proud of them and they were a big part of the area.
“There is replanting going on and we have got to make sure we do all we can to maintain a good natural environment.
“There are no parts of the north-east that are immune.”
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A spokesman for the Forestry Commission said: “DED has been spreading across Aberdeenshire and Moray for at least the last 20 years, to the extent that almost all elm populations have been affected and many trees have died.
“If anyone suspects they have seen an elm with this disease, characterised by wilting and yellowing of leaves on individual branches, they should report it online through Tree Alert.”
A spokeswoman for Aberdeen City Council confirmed two trees in Union Terrace Gardens are already scheduled to be felled later this year as a result of Dutch elm disease.
She said: “There is no guaranteed treatment for Dutch elm disease unfortunately.
“We don’t want to cut down trees, but felling is necessary to try and stop the spread of the disease to other trees.
“Despite this, the city has a diverse range of trees for residents and visitors to enjoy in all parts of the city.”