Latest Advice on Ash Dieback
Ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea) was first found last February in a consignment of infected trees from the Netherlands.
In April this year the Forestry Commission reported 484 confirmed findings of the disease nationally, a large number of which were in East Anglia.
This fungal disease is most frequently recorded in younger trees and causes leaf loss and crown dieback, usually leading to death. Researchers have recently been awarded funding of £2.4m to investigate ash trees’ natural resistance to attack.
What To Do: A Plant Health Order, brought into force in November 2012, prohibits the import and movement of ash seeds, plants and trees in Great Britain, to prevent further spread of the disease.
You are not currently required to take any particular action if you own infected ash trees (unless served with a statutory Plant Health Notice), but you should keep an eye on the trees’ safety as the disease progresses, and prune them if branches threaten to fall and cause injury or damage. Only fell them if they are presenting a safety issue; mature trees are less vulnerable to the disease. You can also help to slow the spread of the disease to other ash trees in your area by collecting up and burning, burying or composting the fallen leaves.
If you suspect a tree has ash dieback, check the Forestry Commission’s handy pictorial ‘Symptoms Guide’. If confirmed, let them know by completing the online ‘Tree Alert’ form, by calling them on 0131 314 6414 or by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.