Ash Tree Concern

In Hinton St Mary we are surrounded by Ash Tree’s and I thought that I should alert everyone to the current damage being caused from the importation of Foreign Tree species.

Chalara fraxinea (C. fraxinea) has caused widespread damage to ash tree populations in continental Europe, especially common ash (Fraxinus excelsior), including its ‘Pendula’ ornamental variety. Fraxinus angustifolia is also susceptible. Chalara dieback of ash is particularly destructive of young ash plants, killing them within one growing season of symptoms becoming visible. Older trees can survive initial attacks, but tend to succumb eventually after several seasons of infection.

It was unknown in Great Britain until recently, but the first cases were confirmed in a nursery in Buckinghamshire early in 2012, on ash plants which had been imported from The Netherlands. Since then, more infected plants have been confirmed in nurseries in West and South Yorkshire, Surrey, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire, and in recent plantings of young ash trees at four sites: a car park landscaping project in Leicester, a Forestry Commission Scotland woodland near Kilmacolm, west of Glasgow, a college campus in South Yorkshire, and a property in County Durham. Our colleagues in Fera are working to trace forward plants which had already been sold on to retail customers from the infected nursery consignments.

The Forestry Commission is treating C. fraxinea as a ‘quarantine’ plant pathogen, which means that we may use emergency powers to contain or eradicate it when it is found. This is being done in the form of Statutory Plant Health Notices which we serve on affected owners requiring them to remove and destroy affected plants by burning or deep burial on site. Equivalent measures are being taken on land managed by the Forestry Commission. This is the only available treatment.

Please be vigilant if you see any signs of the disease and rationally refrain from planting species from overseas at this stage.

I visited the Orchard within the Community Garden and was saddened to see that we have hardly any apples this year.It’s believed that the cold weather caused the hibernation of bee’s at a crucial time and very little fertilisation took place.

This highlights the continued need to support our bee and insect population. They do huge amounts of work for us at no cost so reward them by growing good forage, letting your lawns grow longer, leaving piles of wood/grass cuttings around throughout the year.

By the way the Community Garden needs more support from all of us not just the existing small band of hard workers.

Vince Adams

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One response to “Ash Tree Concern

  1. marilyn norvell

    why doesn’t the British government ban foriegn imports of plants and plant material of any kind, EU or no EU. You can’t even take a banana skin into New Zealand. It looks like that is the correct policy to prevent disease. We on the other hand are in danger of losing our oaks and larches to name but two trees suffering.

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