Plan to save trees as beetle devours Athens’ mulberries

Plan to save trees as beetle devours Athens’ mulberries

Scientists at the Agricultural University of Athens are reportedly closing in on a solution to stop the spread of the tiger longicorn beetle (Xylotrechus chinensis) that has been literally eating away at the mulberry trees lining the streets and neighborhoods of the capital for some three years now.

The university is expected next week to propose to the municipality the implementation of a comprehensive plan to deal with the problem, which will most likely include the replacement of the diseased trees with other species in order to limit the “monoculture” of mulberries that were planted in many parts of the city for their rich foliage.

In 2019, when the beetle first appeared, authorities cut down 500 infected mulberry trees and in 2020 another 750 or so following the instructions of agronomists. However, about 1,500 trees have died this year, while 30% of the total 25,000 mulberry trees in the city appear already infected. 

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