Science - May 21, 2015

Chestnut trees

Roelof Kleis

Who: André van Lammeren
What: Wraps up horse chestnut trees as a remedy against the bleeding disease.
Why: The wrapped-up trees are drawing a lot of attention.

Regional newspapers usually come and take a quick look. But the national paper Trouw has also devoted a whole page to the wrap-up project. And last week Friday, Van Lammeren was visited by the children’s TV news show Jeugdjournaal. Wrapping up horse chestnut trees is mediagenic.

Have you had a lot of response to all this attention?
‘Yes, reactions are regularly coming in via the website of our chair group. They fall into two groups. Reactions from people who have a sick tree and want to join in. And people suggesting an improvement to the technique.’

Can private individuals participate in the experiment?
‘They can, but it’s not free. We charge a contribution of 500 euros per tree. I know that is an obstacle but it has to be like that. This is a research project and it involves costs. We can’t do this work otherwise.’

Someone also came along to our editorial office with an improvement to the technique. What are you doing with these suggestions?
‘Send it on to us. Improvements are certainly possible. But at the moment this is still an experiment. We can’t yet give complete assurance that it works. When we reach that stage, we will invest in the method used to heat up the trees.