Be alert to threat of ash tree disease in Hampshire

 13 August 2013

Tree Surgeons and members of the public need to be alert to the threat posed by the tree disease Ash Dieback. All farmers, forest owners and the wider public are asked to be vigilant for the signs of this disease and quickly report any suspected symptoms they see. Ash Dieback is a serious tree disease and unless it can be prevented from becoming established, the consequences for the landscape will be significant.

Stopping spread of Ash Dieback

Chalara Ash Dieback is caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea (C. fraxinea). It was first detected in Poland in 1992 and has since been expanding its range across Europe, causing great damage to ash trees – Denmark, for example, has lost up to 90 per cent of its ash trees.

The risk of the disease spreading is considered so great that emergency legislation has been introduced to ban the importation of ash plants into both Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

The disease may be spread by:

  • rain
  • insects
  • movement of diseased ash plants
  • movement of logs or untreated wood from infected trees

It causes leaf loss and crown die-back in affected trees.

The Fofestry Commission have produced an excellent page dedicated to informing the wider community and also includes a very useful video showing what to look for, you can visit the page here

Signs of disease

Signs of the disease include:

  • diseased saplings typically display dead tops and/ or side shoots
  • at the base of dead side shoots, lesions can often be found on the subtending branch or stem
  • lesions which girdle the branch or stem can cause wilting of the foliage above
  • mature trees affected by the disease initially display dieback of the shoots and twigs at the periphery of their crowns. Dense clumps of foliage may be seen further back on branches where recovery shoots are produced

If you think you have seen any signs on ash trees in your area, please contact the Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) by:

Ash dieback was first found in Northern Ireland in November 2012. To date, 68 places have been confirmed positive for the fungus Chalara fraxinea, 65 of which are recently planted sites across all counties. There have been an additional three findings in nursery retail and trade situations.