Ash Dieback

What you know about Ash dieback?

Ash dieback is a disease that is running rampant across the UK currently without many signs of stopping. Much like Dutch Elm disease this is an ongoing epidemic in the tree world, although we are taking action to slow the spread of Ash dieback we are unlikely to stop it.

You can find out more below…

What is Ash dieback?

  • What is Ash Dieback? – Ash Dieback is a disease which causes deterioration of the Ash tree species.
  • Where did it come from? – It originated from Asia firstly effecting Chinese Ash (Fraxinus chinensis)coming into the UK via imported trees through Europe.
  • What causes the spread of Ash Dieback? – The fungal spores of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus which cultivates on decaying leaf matter which becomes airborne and travels to new specimens.
  • What is it more commonly known as? – Chalara, Chalara fraxinea, Chalara Ash dieback.
  • How far has Ash Dieback spread? – The entire of the UK mainland.
  • What will happen now? – The disease will continue to multiply and infect more trees, the tree’s tolerance is not a known variable.
  • Does the disease kill the tree? – The answer is yes, but how susceptible the tree is and how quickly depends on the tree’s health.

What are the key symptoms of Ash dieback?

Wilting or dying leaves

The fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus grows within the leaf litter on the ground, particularly on Ash leaf stalks, the fungus produces small white fruiting bodies between the months of July and October which create spores that become airborne and can be blown miles away on the wind, the spores then land on neighbouring Fraxinus (Ash) species and penetrate the leaves which causes them to wilt and die prematurely.
Photo : Joe Bates

Apical Stem Damage & Deterioration

Once the Hymenoscyphus fraxineus fungus has begun to penetrate the leaves and leaf stem the next visible sign of dieback occurs in the stem and branch union, specifically around the join between the two and the along the affected stems. It causes a characteristic resembling a diamond shape above and below the affected stem which is a sign that the diesease has spread from the leaves into the outer structure of the tree.
Photo : David Mark

Severe Bark Loss & Stem Girdling

When the Hymenoscyphus fraxineus infection becomes more severe and the lesions that develop around the stem unions in the early stages of the disease it causes small areas of bark to dieback as the tree tries to stop the disease spreading by shutting off the effected cells trying to cull the bad from the good remaining structure of the plant, therefore leading to bark loss as once living areas of the tree loose life and fall away.
Photo : BBC

What can you do about Ash dieback?

There is currently no know cure for Ash Dieback in the UK, now it is here it is here to stay, the most effective means will be to manage the level of spread.

Below are some of the actions that can be taken to minimise the spread in the UK.

  1. Removal of young infected trees with the correct disposal of leaf and branch matter to help reduce the spread of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus fungus.
  2. Pruning of infected trees to remove the already infected branches within the structure.
  3. Remove decaying leaf matter from around the base and immediate vicinity of the tree.
  4. Careful monitoring of affected trees especially in high risk areas such as on the side of the highways, public spaces and close to manmade objects.

I need further advice about Ash dieback!

We can offer a wide range of professional tree services and solutions within both the domestic and commercial sectors for the management and mitigation of the disease.
Having established in 2013 and with over 15 years of experience in Arboriculural consultancy, we offer a complete solution of services, which includes;

  • Identification of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus fungus and presence of Chalara within Ash tree.
  • Risk assessments and hazard management due to Chalara Ash dieback.
  • Removal of infected trees, including correct disposal of waste.
  • Leaf litter clearance to help reduce the spread of the Hymenoscyphus fraxineus fungus.
  • Ash Dieback management through VTA and pruning operations.
  • Disease identification.
  • Tree and vegetation management plans.
  • Planting and rejuvenation plans.
  • Highways support services including 24 hour emergency call outs.

We also offer an extensive range of wildlife and conservation consultancy;

  • The management and mitigation through careful planning and inspection of effected areas.
  • Thorough inspection techniques and extensive survey reports.
  • Arboricultural consultancy.

I need to talk to someone about Ash dieback…

Further reading…..

why don’t you try to find out some more information from the Royal Horticultural Society or from the Woodland Trust.

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