A very common sight in our countryside is the Ash tree, A beautiful species that can live to a great age and grow to great heights however in the last couple of years we have seen it on the news and heard about it in the magazines, but not only for its beauty… but for the disease that is targeting them Hymenoscyphus fraxineus but what is this disease and how will it affect our landscapes?
What is “Ash die-back”
It’s scientific name is Hymenoscyphus fraxineus, it was first announced that it was amongst british trees in 2012 when it was discovered by a tree officer here in Leicester. It is a fungi which is airborne making it spread rapidly to other areas, the fungi lives on dead leaves of ash trees.
What can we do to remedy it?
We hear this question quite a lot in this trade and it is one none of us can answer, we can however hope to slow down the spread. There have already been laws in place to prevent the importation of ash trees from other countries, there was also the mass destruction of saplings which had been imported that were yet to be planted…..So what next?
It is important we don’t remove our ash trees in the anticipation of death of the tree, the simple reason being that your tree could be immune to the fungi. This could be the answer to the future of the species, with remaining ash trees we can graft and create hybrid ash trees that are not harmed by the die-back.
Hymenoscyphus fraxineus isn’t an easy one to spot, we need to be looking at the leaves themselves. It appears as black blotches usually around the base/petiole end of the leaf, these leaves then start to wilt. As with the name of the disease you can start to expect dead branches but starting at the tips, it is normal to see deadwood in ash trees but the extent of the deadwood caused by Hymenoscyphus fraxineus will be substantially more.
What will I need to do?
If you suspect your ash tree has Hymenoscyphus fraxineus it would be wise to contact as consultant to correctly identify it, it is important to choose a trained professional as it may not be Ash die-back, but a different disease with different outcomes. There are many other diseases that may share the symptoms of Ash die-back but affect the tree structurally in a different way.
Dead wood aloft will be brittle and can be dangerous to targets underneath, call a tree surgeon to carefully remove this deadwood to eliminate this risk, a competent arborist will be able to remove deadwood from a canopy with no damage and no stress.
If you require a tree specialist in or around Leicester, please contact William on 0116 2600419 we are here to help!
For more information on Hymenoscyphus fraxineus visit the Forestry Commission site