The Ash Woodland
Ash grows almost everywhere, and in this situation a five hectare woodland emerged from Ash regeneration over a period of 120 years. Now in maturity, it reached a point of high risk, not just because of its even age – but also a lack of species diversity.
This would have been the situation regardless of whether Ash Dieback was on the scene, but the need to diversify the wood became even more apparent once the disease took hold in the east of England.
A fifth of the woodland was felled, having advised and consulted local residents of the purpose, and works coordinated with the Electricity Company whose line was subject to regular outages from falling branches. The woodland was replanted that year with a range of native species, and high numbers of shrubs, to warm the woodland, and protect the electricity line from future tree strikes. Four years on, the site is establishing well, and the balance of the wood has been thinned.
Ash like conifers, needs regular thinning in five year intervals to deliver a healthy and open canopy, and to deliver a proportionate stem diameter. Ash Dieback has now reached the woodland, but it remains in much better heart with trees growing without stress and competition from surrounding neighbours, and with a young generation of alternative native tree species coming on.