Where have all the Conkers gone?

A guest blogpost by Christine, of the Very Young Friends

My own very young friend of Rowntree Park and I love to go out collecting things.  We’ve found pine cones, seed pods, brown leaves, green leaves, red leaves, orange leaves and all the colours inbetween but NO conkers!

We searched the woods area.  We searched the play park trees.  We searched all the trees and found nothing.  Had all our other very young friends beaten us to it?  Maybe it was the squirrels hiding them away for winter?  Or maybe there were no conkers?

A search under the trees found nothing (except in the play park where there were a few chewed up little bits of conkers) and a look up into the trees found no conker pods waiting to fall.  We did find some brown shrivelled up tiny seed pods on the trees which had never made it into conkers.  Sadly there are no conkers in the park this year.

Back home we checked it out on the internet.  We found a whole range of things which might have upset the trees.  We found there is an insect call the Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner which attacks the leaves of the horse chestnut. The larvae mine within the leaves which then fall off.  We also discovered another illness called Leaf Blotch where a fungus infects the leaves.  We’re just hoping that it was caused by the floods last winter and that the conkers will be back next year.

For this year though, we’re looking elsewhere for our conkers.  If you know of any good conker trees around York, let us know!

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