As has been widely reported in the media, the UK has become the latest country to fall victim to a fungus that attacks the common ash tree.
The fungus – Chalara fraxinea – causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and it can lead to tree death. Some 100,000 trees have been destroyed in the UK, where East Anglia has been particularly badly affected. The infection has killed some 90% of ash trees in Denmark.
Ash trees suffering from symptoms likely to be caused by C. fraxinea have been found widely across Europe. These have included forest trees, trees in urban areas such as parks and gardens, and also young trees in nurseries.
C. fraxinea is being treated as a quarantine pest under national emergency measures, and it is important that suspected cases of the disease are reported.
“I think I’ve seen a tree with ash dieback – what should I do?”
You can help to slow the spread of C. fraxinea in the UK. Please report any sightings at once. The disease is most likely to be found in newly planted young trees. You can report your findings to the following:
In England and Wales – Chalara helpline:
Call:458 33 55 77 (open 8am – 6pm every day) firstname.lastname@example.org
In Scotland – Forestry Commission Scotland:
Call:0131 314 6156 (9am – 5pm weekdays + out of hours messaging system)
Forest Research Tree Health Diagnostic and Advisory Service
Call: 01420 23000
Fera Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate
Call: 01904 465625
More recently the environment secretary has urged the public to wash their dogs and boots and even their children after visiting wooded areas, to help stop the spread of the tree disease to other woodlands.