Suspect ash tree dieback disease? – contact Forestry Commission

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Suspect ash tree dieback disease? – contact Forestry Commission

Cotswold District Council is asking the public to be on the lookout for symptoms of dieback disease in ash trees and to report any potential cases to the Forestry Commission.

Although there have been no positive reported sightings in the Cotswold district so far, ash trees have been affected in an increasing number of areas in England and Scotland, as well as parts of mainland Europe and the Forestry Commission is working hard to monitor the situation and take action to help prevent further infection.

The disease caused by the fungus chalara fraxinea, was found in the UK for the first time earlier this year. This causes leaf death and severe crown dieback, and it can lead to tree death. To counter its spread, the UK Government has passed legislation temporarily restricting imports and movements of ash plants into and within Great Britain to minimise the risk of further accidental introductions of the disease into areas which are currently disease-free.

CDC Tree Officer Mark Berry comments: “Ash is a common tree in forests and other woodland in this district and we are urging the public to familiarise themselves with the symptoms of the chalara fraxinea fungus and to get in touch with the Forestry Commission’s chalara helpline: 08459 33 55 77 (open 8am - 6pm every day) or plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk if they believe they have detected the disease while out walking. The Forestry Commission can then react quickly and, if needs be, fell the tree if they confirm that it is diseased. It is possible that they may also destroy other ash trees in the vicinity to minimise the risk of the disease spreading.

He continued:

“Diseased ash saplings typically display dead tops or side shoots, and there can be lesions on branches or stems. There are other symptoms to look out for, and I would recommend reading the advice at http://www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara which provides many details about the disease, including pictorial guides and a short video. There is also a guide about how to recognise an ash tree.

“The only good news is that the Forestry Commission is not closing its forests, nor is it advising owners of infected sites to do so. However, visitors to areas known or suspected of being hit by the fungus are being advised not to remove any plant material from the site, such as cuttings, firewood, sticks or leaves. Where possible, on leaving a wooded area they should also clean soil, mud, leaves and other plant material from footwear, clothing, dogs, horses, the wheels and tyres of bikes, baby buggies, carriages and other vehicles, and remove any leaves which are sticking to their car.”

Posted : 15/11/2012 11:25:52

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