Harmonised Rules to Save the Planes

Planes infected by the canker stain
Harmonised Rules to Save the Planes

Monitor, eliminate, prevent, is the three-pronged approach that prevails now in the whole of France to save the plane, decimated by the canker stain. New legislation aims to curb this disease of the plane tree.

The canker stain have decimated the plane trees. In Sete, Avignon or Carcassonne... numerous cities of southern France have deferred to the cutting down of trees affected by the canker stain. Besides, some 10 000 plane trees along the “canal du Midi” were wiped out – Voies navigables de France is leading a replanting with other species.

In this context, an order published in the Official Journal of January 6, 2016 harmonizes the fight against Ceratocystis platani, the fungus responsible for the canker stain. Both preventive and curative measures were organized until then at the regional level. They are now the same for all of France.

The fight against the canker stain becomes compulsory, in three main stages.

1. Monitor the plane trees

Monitoring of planes is the responsibility of any person who holds this type of tree. At the onset of symptoms, be they suspected or proven, the prefect of the region must be notified.

In the presence of sick trees, a prefectorial decree delimits an “infected area”, on a minimum radius of 35 metres, and a “buffer zone”.

After the disappearance of symptoms, surveillance should last 10 years on the entire area. There is also a 10-year ban on planting plane trees in the infected area.

The French Ministry of Agriculture says:

“The ban on replanting is the time of remanence of the organism in soil, which was found to last 10 years.”

2. Eradicate the canker stain

In an infected area, trees can only destructed.

The order published on January 6, 2016 says:

“The owner has the cutting down carried out, as well as the grubbing or the devitalization of stumps, and then the destruction by incineration of plane trees from the infected area.”

The order allows experiments, provided they receive the authorization from the authorities.

3. Prevent canker stain

Finally, the same order lists measures to be taken to prevent the spread of canker stain, especially:
clean and disinfect tools and devices that are in contact with the plane or “in the vicinity” of the latter;
apply fungicide or “protective preparation” on trees wounds, in infected area and buffer zone.
In addition, the order prohibits the sale or transfer of infected trees.

Enough, perhaps, to bring an end to the canker stain, but not to the plane.

Chrystelle Carroy/Forestopic