Friday, 24 May 2013

Ash dieback - showing near you soon! (probably).

Mature Ash trees - such a part of our landscape
I clearly remember as a child when “Dutch Elm” disease hit this country. I was living just outside the village of Upton-upon-Severn in south Worcestershire, where the view from my bedroom window across the river Severn’s floodplain, was dominated by numerous large elm trees. Elms, along with giant Oaks, were the trees I was most familiar with and especially in the autumn, when the elms turned a golden yellow, gave real character to the whole landscape. The loss of these tall giants in a matter of a couple of years was a devastating blow to all who lived in the area and of course, this was mirrored across the country as a whole.   
So it is with real sadness that I now read about Ash die back disease (also known as Chalara dieback disease) which already appears to have become widespread across the country. The latest confirmed findings (As of May 13th 2013) which have been recently published are: Nursery sites – 23, recently planted sites – 295, wider environment, e.g. established woodland – 182.  Total: 500. In these figures, Wales has had its first cases in the ‘wider environment’ confirmed. 
The Forestry Commission has posted a video online showing the symptoms to look for at this time of year to check whether ash trees have Chalara dieback. The new video, further information about Chalara dieback including a map of confirmed locations, and access to Tree Alert are available from the Forestry Commission.
We will all have to wait and see how this new disease changes our landscape and what impact the potential loss of such a common tree will have on our British wildlife.

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