Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic

Canal du Midi, Languedoc, France

The trees have been a feature of the eastern half of the canal from Toulouse to Sète since they were first planted in the 1830s and today, as we walked along the towpath, all around us they swayed gently in the breeze as though in a collective trance.  Their triple purpose was to strengthen the banks, reduce water evaporation by the strong Midi sun and shade the canal boats, which originally transported delicate products like wine and fabrics.  But in 2005 disaster struck and for the past six years a fungus has been attacking the trees, spreading along the waterway and defying all attempts to cure or control it.

Tree specialists have concluded that it is almost certain all the planes will have to be chopped down, burned and replaced because the trees have been struck by an outbreak of a virulent, incurable microscopic fungus which spreads through the roots and is thought to have first reached France with American GIs in the Second-World-War whose sycamore ammunition boxes were infected.

We counted ourselves lucky to have seen these magnificent trees at this time because in a couple of years or so they may well be gone.

Read the full story…

14 responses to “Weekly Photo Challenge: Monochromatic

  1. Midwestern Plant Girl

    The Sycamore fungus is called ‘anthracnose’ (Apiognomonia veneta) and will sadly wipe out those trees. Arborists (I think you call us tree surgeons over the pond) have long since figured out diversity is the key to long term survival of a forest, as most pest problems don’t cross species. So sad. Sycamores are a favorite tree of mine.

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    • Thanks for the additional information. I am glad that I have seen them before they have to be destroyed.
      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-15305048

      Liked by 1 person

      • Midwestern Plant Girl

        Oops, a bit off on my fungus ID, the one killing them is a ‘Canker stain of plane’.
        The arborists have a large task in front of them. I’m glad to read in the article that they were going to go with a variety this time. Some even coming from my island, Mississippi! I’m not sure I agree with that, as they should plant native species. Skip the Sycamore altogether until the fungus gets under control.
        We’ve learned our lesson here with ash and elm trees. We lined our streets with these 2 and now we are regretting it with removals because of diseases that kill a tree in less than a year. So sad!

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      • We have lost our Elm but still have some Elm.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Lovely scene, Andrew.

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  3. What is it with trees nowadays? Ash, elm, oak….they all seem to have some killer disease after them. Lovely photograph, by the way.

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  4. Melbourne has a lot of Plane trees growing in the streets in the CBD, I will take a few shots next time I’m in town. They really are a magnificent tree.

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  5. So sad when disease takes over, especially on trees with such history. We are just in the process of cutting down the hedge in our yard as some sort of nasty disease is attacking the same type of bush through out our part of the city.

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  6. No need toburn it thankfully just taking it back down to the tip.

    Liked by 1 person

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