Ash dieback disease
There is a new, imported disease of ash trees, called ash dieback, (Chalara fraxinea).
It is now causing high numbers of tree deaths in surrounding areas across the East and South of England. Although its impact so far in Essex is limited, in the near future we expect it to appear here more often. Ash trees do not form a high proportion of trees in the district, however there are some very important specimens across the district and ash can be an important component of woods and hedgerows.
If you are concerned about the disease, or believe that you have found an example of it, you can find specific advice published by the Forestry Commission website.
Symptoms of ash dieback disease
The first symptoms of ash dieback disease are leaf and shoot death. Later the living tissue under the bark is killed. The death of parts of the crown usually then follows and, eventually, that of the tree as a whole.
The disease is thought mainly to be spread through spores blown in the wind. It has recently arrived from the continent, where is has caused high numbers of deaths, both of European strains of our native ash, Fraxinus excelsior, and also other species of ash, such as the commonly planted Raywood’s ash, (Fraxinus oxycarpa Raywood) and the manna ash, (Fraxinus ornus).
It was hoped that English ash trees might be more resistant. However the experience so far suggests that this will not be the case. While some trees may still survive for many years and a few may not be infected at all, it seems likely that many affected trees will die quite quickly. The disease does not affect any other species, and some kinds of ash are also unaffected.
How you can help?
Report a suspect tree via the Forestry Commission Tree Alert page.
Help to slow the spread of ash dieback disease by burning, burying or composting fallen ash leaves.
If the affected trees are street trees or on council land, call 01992 564562 or email firstname.lastname@example.org as soon as possible.
If a protected tree is affected, call 01992 564452 or email email@example.com as soon as possible.