Trial project to save pine trees in the Circus Maximus area of Rome.
Rome is carrying out an experimental project on 200 pine trees in the city centre in an attempt to save them a non-native insect responsible for decimating pines in the suburbs of the capital.
The project involves injecting the tree trunks with various forms of treatment to counteract the deadly turtle cochineal (Toumeyella parvicornis), as well as pruning infected branches and fertilising the roots.
The parasite infects trees and causes the spread of a sooty black mould, leading to needle loss. In the case of healthy specimens, the tree reacts by generating new needles which, in turn, weakens the tree and exposes it to new attacks by the parasite.
The city says the two-month project, costing €75,000, will attempt to discover the most effective treatment in dealing with the parasite which arrived from North America in Italy's Campania region, around Naples.
Similar action is underway in the Vatican Gardens to halt the non-indigenous pest which has no natural predator in Italy, meaning that it can multiply and spread unchallenged by nature.
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Rome takes steps to save its pine trees from parasite insect
Via del Circo Massimo, 00186 Roma RM, Italy