An incurable illness

Colored canker disease

Colored canker is a disease caused by a microscopic fungus, which attacks exclusively plane trees. It lodges inside the tree, blocks the sap channels and kills it, in only 6 months and 5 years. Its spread in mainly due to human activities. Along the canal, the epidemic is favored by water and boats that multiply root injuries during moorings.

Unfortunately, there is no preventive or curative treatment.

After research, INRA (National Institute of Agricultural Research) concluded that the disease could'nt be tackled either chemically or biologically.

If the protocols of experimentation for the safeguarding of the untainted planes trees continue, there is only one solution to stop it : cut down and burn the diseased trees. Despite prevention efforts, 20 500 plane trees have been fell since 2006. The urgency of the situation requires the mobilization of all of us ! 

  • Where does the colored canker come from ?

Colored canker was propably introduced in France during the second World War, with American ammunition crates of infected plane tree wood. On the Canal du Midi, the first outbreak was spotted in 2006 in Villedubert (East of Carcassonne). Since then, the spread is exponential.


Protective measures

In response to the growing threat of the disease, French Waterways Institution / Voies navigables de France (VNF), which manages the canal du Midi on behalf of the government, immediately embarked on protective measures.

This meant the assistance from experts from scientific and laboratory backgrounds as well as specialised services such as Regional Plant Protection Services was required. Each year, independent experts are tasked with exploratory missions to detect diseased trees at the earliest possible stage. 

Companies commissioned by Voies navigables de France have been made aware of the preventive measures to be applied: disinfection of equipment, inspection before works, intervention to avoid damaging trees and dispersing the sawdust infected by canker.

These measures complement the practice of felling trees and burning them on the spot to stop the disease spreading.

In addition, assisted by professionals and scientists, VNF is studying potential measures to limit the disease being spread by boats. With scientific monitoring from experts of the Ministry of Agriculture
and others from agro-foodstuff and forestry fields, VNF is seeking to develop partnerships to facilitate research or experiments on the disease.




I support the project and I remain informed

Subscribe now to the newsletter of Canal du Midi to stay informed first !

  • last news of the Canal save program
  • invitations to magic events of the Canal
  • contest-game with a lot of prizes to win

See the last newsletter

My e-mail address will not be sold or exchanged. I can unsubscribe at any time.