The Conservation Foundation has announced that a nationwide search is underway to find how many disease-resistant elm trees planted thirty years ago have survived.  Sapporo Autumn Gold is a hybrid, brought to the UK by technology company Pitney Bowes, who created the ‘Elms Across Europe’ campaign in 1979, which led to the setting up of The Conservation Foundation in 1982.

The campaign supplied large numbers of elms to schools, parks and gardens throughout the UK and Europe. The UK’s very first Sapporo Autumn Gold elms, planted by the American Ambassador at Pitney Bowes’ Harlow headquarters in 1979, still survive. From then until the early 1980s many more plantings followed around this country and in Europe as part of the campaign to help replace some of the millions of elms lost as a result of Dutch elm disease.

The Conservation Foundation is celebrating the 30th anniversary of the first plantings by researching healthy Sapporo Autumn Gold elms still growing. As part of the 30th anniversary celebration, the Foundation will be offering schools and gardens the opportunity to take part in The Great British Elm Experiment, a new national elm planting campaign. This time it will use young trees propagated from mature healthy, native elms which the Foundation has discovered still growing in the English countryside. The schools project will be linked to a tree propagation programme in India run by the Berkeley Reafforestation Trust.

How or why some of the UK’s native elms have survived when so many were affected by Dutch elm disease is a mystery, but they may have a resistance to disease and therefore able to be used in further propagation and replanting initiatives. Anyone with a Sapporo Autumn Gold is invited to send details to

For more information visit or to register interest in the Great British Elm Experiment contact