Ash Dieback in Hampshire
You might have heard of ash dieback, or Chalara, on the news. Or perhaps your ash is exhibiting signs of disease but you’re not sure what’s wrong with it, have a look at our guide to ash dieback in Hampshire or get in touch to find out more.
What is Chalara?
It’s a chronic disease specific to ash trees caused by the Hymenoscyphus fraxineus fungus.
How does it spread?
The disease spreads across smaller distances on the wind through the fungal spores. The spread over larger distances is thought to be most likely down to the transport and trade of already diseased live ash. In fact, it was first discovered in the UK, in Buckinghamshire, back in 2012 when a shipment of infected ash trees was sent over from a nursery in the Netherlands.
Which trees are at risk?
“Chalara dieback of ash is especially destructive of common or European ash (Fraxinus excelsior), including its ‘Pendula’ ornamental variety. Narrow-leaved ash (Fraxinus angustifolia) is also susceptible, and both species have been affected in the UK.” – The Forestry Commission
How does it affect the trees?
Bark lesions or necrotic spots, are a key year-round symptom to look out for if you think your tree might be infected. They appear on stems and branches and can spread until they eventually cause loss of foliage.
Leaf loss and crown dieback are two symptoms that are more easy to spot, especially in the Summer. If you notice any unusual or unseasonal leaf loss it’s a good idea to ask for an assessment of your ash tree.
‘Fruiting bodies’ or fungus on fallen leaf stems are usually a good indicator from June to October.
The UK’s ash population is under a significant threat from Chalara; the effect on younger ash trees in continental Europe has been widespread and devastating for the species. It’s for this reason that it’s so important to monitor any cases, or suspected cases closely.
What can be done?
Ash dieback is becoming endemic in the UK, and unfortunately the disease is so serious, that once a tree becomes infected it’s usually fatal. Either because the tree becomes weakened and is more susceptible to other aggressive diseases, or because of the Chalara itself.
That said, research from The Forestry Commission suggests that older, more mature ash trees can in fact survive the infection. They are currently working with other governing bodies to try and identify genetic factors unique to the trees that do survive, in the hope that they can find a way to grow resilient ash trees to plant in the future.