Grain

    Ash Dieback (Chalara fraxinea)

    Chalara fraxinea, otherwise known as Ash dieback disease is a fungal infection affecting Ash, one of the UK’s most common trees.

     

    The disease has been widespread across much of Eastern Europe and Scandinavia for a few  years but it has only recently been found in the UK. Symptoms of the fungus are commonly shown by discoloured leaves (often blackened), darkening of the leaf stem and midrib, lesions on the trunk, darkened staining below infected branches and death of the crown. Whilst it is possible for the tree to survive a number of seasons it will eventually succumb to the disease.

    View an image of a suspected case of Chalara fraxinea found at a site planted in 2010. (Awaiting confirmation from Plant Health department).

    Initial thoughts were that it was imported into this country via infected whips from Europe but this has been discredited as the only source due to its presence within mature woodland stands. Surveying carried out by the Forestry Commission has identified a number of mature woodland sites across the eastern fringes of the UK, particularly within Norfolk, Kent, Essex, Cambridge and Lincolnshire. This clearly shows that spores from Chalara fraxinea have been transported across the channel by wind. A map of infected sites can be found here (The Forestry Commission). 

    The Forestry Commission and other agencys are working very hard to identify where there are infected mature trees and in tracing saplings from contaminated nurseries. As it is a notifiable disease a landowner is legally responsible to report any suspected cases to the Plan Health department.

    It remains unclear as to how the disease will be controlled and whether a clear fell approach, such as that used for Phytophthora ramorum in Larch will be practical. It is however anticipated that any trees with confirmed infection will be felled and burnt and those recently planted removed. It is likely that young plantations with signs of Chalara fraxinea will be treated differently with all Ash trees removed whether they show signs of the disease or not.

    In cases where the disease is found within Forestry Commission grant funded plantations (such as WCG) and all ash are removed, the landowner will be responsible to replace those trees at their own expense. This situation may change as the extent of the disease becomes clearer.

    For further information please visit the Forestry Commission website or contact Craig Hodgson at Savills on 01392 455706.

     
     

    Key contacts

    Andrew Wraith

    Andrew Wraith

    Director
    Food & Farming

    Savills Lincoln

    +44 (0) 1522 508 973

    +44 (0) 1522 508 973

     

    Steve Hollis

    Steve Hollis

    Director
    Food & Farming

    Savills Salisbury

    +44 (0) 1722 426 853

    +44 (0) 1722 426 853

     

    Ashley Lilley

    Ashley Lilley

    Director
    Food & Farming

    Savills Cheltenham

    +44 (0) 1242 548 012

    +44 (0) 1242 548 012

     

    Giles Hanglin

    Giles Hanglin

    Director
    Rural Research

    Savills Margaret Street

    +44 (0) 207 016 3786

    +44 (0) 207 016 3786