Ash dieback is back, with significant implications for landowners and highways departments.
The foliar fungal disease that made headline news last year has returned, but this time it is large mature trees rather than young specimens that have fallen victim to the condition.
The biggest impact will be in the countryside and woodland areas, and the problem is expected to continue for another five years as a result of warm, damp weather.
Danger from collapse
Ash trees collapse quickly once they are dead and within two or three years will be an obvious hazard. Where they border public footpaths and roads they will need to be removed rapidly, with cost implications for landowners and highways departments.
Chalara dieback of ash is a disease caused by a fungus called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus. Chalara has the potential to cause significant damage to the UK’s ash population, having already caused widespread damage in continental Europe.
Change in scenery
Muggy weather helps to spread diseased spores, enabling them to travel long distances on moist winds and remain viable.
Ash trees make up from 40% to 60% of chalkland woodlands in areas such as the South Downs National Park, potentially leading to a major change in scenery.
David Archer, Principal Consultant at David Archer Associates, recommends that those who are responsible for large ash trees begin to make plans now.
“Our advice to landowners and anyone with responsibility for mature ash trees where they grow in large numbers with potential risk to the public is to start putting a strategy in place now. It is important to be ready in advance to deal with this, rather than be caught on the back foot. Preparation now is the way to mitigate the financial impact and put in place a plan for replacement planting.”
The team at DAA are ready to help with any questions on the implications of ash dieback. Please call us today for advice.