Ash dieback is a fungal disease affecting the common ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) and other Fraxinus species. It is caused by a fungus called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus which is native to eastern Asia. The disease is now sadly widespread throughout Europe where it has been observed damaging ash trees for over 25 years.
It was first observed in the UK Ash trees in 2012. It was first identified in nursery stock then in the wider environment in 2013, although most experts believe it has likely been in the country much longer.
Ash trees make up over 10% of Great Britain’s broadleaved woodland and are also frequent in parks, gardens, hedgerows, roadside margins and close to watercourses. In essence Ash trees are found in almost all habitats; woodland and non-woodland settings, urban and rural landscapes.
oung trees are particularly vulnerable and die quickly once they succumb to the fungus. Older trees are being slowly killed by a yearly cycle of infection. Spread of the disease in the UK is attributed to a result of the planting of infected nursery stocks before identification had take place but wind borne distribution of the fungal spores also occurs and plays a part in the spread.
A small proportion of trees have a genetic tolerance to the disease. These will be most easily identified on woodland sites, as where there is a high degree of infection some trees will stand out as remaining healthy.Most parts of England are now experiencing the impacts of ash dieback. Local conditions will determine the extent to which ash trees are affected by the pathogen.
Trees in woodlands with high proportions of ash are likely to decline more quickly due to the higher density of spores.
HOW TO IDENTIFY ASH DIE BACK
Infection can lead to leaf loss and dead branches throughout the crown of ash trees
As per the images in this blog leaves will look shrivelled and in clumps.
Dark patches of bark in diamond shapes.
HOW TO MANAGE ASH DIE BACK
Felling is going to be the solution in almost all cases of Ash Dieback, felling diseased ash requires a felling licence from the Forestry Commission. In urgent/ dangerous cases if the trees are dead or pose a real and immediate danger this can be bypassed but should not be undertaken by a non-professional. Restrictions such as any site with tree preservation orders must also be respected. Additional restrictions will apply if your site is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest, or located in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.Uninfected ash trees should not be felled as a precautionary measure.For more information on the management of Ash Dieback or if you think you have trees infected please contact https://www.james-gillies.com/contact-us/