ASH DIEBACK

Ash Dieback is now well established across the UK and forecast to kill the majority of our native Ash trees (Fraxinus excelsior) with as large an impact on the UK’s woodlands and landscape as Dutch Elm Disease.

What is Ash Dieback and What Does it do?

Ash Dieback (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus) is a fungal disease spread by aerially dispersed spores. It has spready rapidly across Europe since the mid 90’s via human and natural dispersal and is now widespread across the UK. The fungus kills most seedlings and saplings within 2-3 years , mature trees typically lose 10%-15% of their canopy each year with 70% of infected woodland trees dying within 15 years either directly from loss of canopy and structural failure, or indirectly from secondary attack of the roots by honey fungus. As the disease progresses the trees timber stains black and loses tensile strength greatly increasing the risk of branches being shed when felled or undertaking arboricultural work. It also increases the risk of neighbouring trees failing when work occurs. Current Forestry Commission guidance is that enhanced safety procedures are put in place to account for the increased risk and unpredictability of diseased trees, preferably operating from armoured cabs.

Ash Dieback

If I have ash trees what should I do?

Owners of ash trees will need to assess whether they are likely to present an increased duty-of-care risk over the coming decade, what function they serve in their wider land holding, reconsider any management plans, and budget for increased work costs, consents, and restocking that may be required.

What is the outlook for Ash in the UK?

In the short-term, Ash trees are a time-limited resource as mature trees die and the young regeneration is rapidly killed off. However, in Europe 5-10% of ash show some resistance to the disease, of which 2% show strong resistance. It is hoped that quasi-resistant ash will be available to plant within the next 25 years but mature ash trees are unlikely to be a significant feature of our landscape for at least 100 years. The ability of mature ash to naturally and rapidly set genetically mixed seed is also a source of hope. Most seedlings and saplings will die but constant rapid seeding may result in the natural selection of resistant trees provided the surviving saplings are able to escape the day-to-day predations of deer and grey squirrels.

Ash Dieback

What can Nicholsons offer?

Nicholsons are able to provide the following services to effectively manage Ash Dieback at an individual tree and woodland level:

Individual Tree Assessments

Ash Dieback

A visual inspection from the ground with climbing or drone inspection if required resulting in confirmation of disease presence and recommendation of work to be undertaken based on the trees location and size. Can be accompanied by a quote covering the recommended works if required.

Surveying

Duty of Care Surveys

Ash Dieback

A formal and systematic survey of trees in areas where owners have a duty-of-care responsibility. Can be accompanied by a quote covering the recommended works if required.

Surveying

Tree Safety Arboricultural Work

Ash Dieback

Nicholsons have an in-house team of qualified arborists able to undertake all work to individual diseased ash trees with due care and attention to the increased safety risks these trees present.