If you own land with Ash trees, it is essential to understand and be able to deal with the consequences of Ash Dieback.
What is Ash Dieback?
Caused by a fungus named Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (historically referred to as Chalara fraxinea), Ash Dieback is a disease that affects Ash trees. This disease causes Ash trees to lose leaves and their crowns to dieback, ultimately leading to the tree dying. Ash Dieback can affect trees of any age, however, younger trees usually die more quickly when exposed to the fungus. The disease originated in Asia, and has little effect on its native hosts Asian and Chinese Ash trees, but can be devastating for European Ash trees as they do not have a natural tolerance or defence against it.
What are the signs of Ash Dieback?
Ash Dieback can be identified by multiple symptoms. Trees that have been seriously affected by the disease will usually show all of the following symptoms…
• Dark patches on leaves that are evident in summer
• Black and wilting leaves
• Leaves shedding and falling early
• Shoot and leaf dieback evident in summer
• Diamond-shaped, dark brown lesions between branches and the tree trunk
• The bark looks discoloured and grey underneath the lesions
• Tree showing signs of stress such as new growth from dormant buds.
What impact does Ash Dieback have?
As the fungus causes leaves to shed, the infected leaves will fall and litter the ground. The Ash leaves will then produce white fruiting bodies which introduce spores into the environment. Due to the wind and other natural factors, the spores can be blown miles away from the infected tree. The spores turn into a fungus and grow inside the Ash tree, blocking its water system and causing its death.
Experts estimate that due to the disease the UK will potentially lose 95% of its Ash trees. This will not only affect the UK’s biodiversity but will cause the UK to lose many of its natural habitats.
Is there any hope for Ash trees?
Some Ash trees may be tolerant to the disease, meaning that over time the Ash tree population may be able to recover. This will only be possible if landowners are vigilant if they spot Ash Dieback.
What to do if you suspect Ash Dieback
If you suspect that any Ash trees on your land are infected with Ash Dieback, immediately collect the suspect leaves and burn or bury them safely to prevent the spores from spreading. Next, contact a tree surgeon UK landowners can count on, such as Hi-Line. At Hi-Line, we are a tree care company that can identify and help manage Ash Dieback. For more information about our tree care services, contact us today!