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Chalara dieback of Ash trees

Chalara dieback of ash trees (Chalara fraxinea) is a fungal disease which causes leaf loss and crown dieback on affected trees. This disease has caused widespread damage to ash tree populations in continental Europe, specifically common ash Fraxinus excelsior and its varieties and Fraxinus angustifolia (most commonly used is the Raywood form) is also thought to be susceptible. The susceptibility of Fraxinus ornus is unclear and pending further guidance from the Forestry Commission.

The Forestry Commission are treating this fungus as a 'Quarantine' plant pathogen and using their emergency powers to eradicate it when found. This requires owners of affected trees to destroy them by burning. To help with identification and reporting there is a useful phone app called Ashtag, available for both Android and iPhone.

It is thought the disease has entered the UK from imported trees but it may also be wind transmitted as established ash trees all along the east coast have been found to be infected for some time with no apparent contact with imported plants.

Palmstead Nurseries will obviously comply fully with any Forestry Commission requirements. As from 29 October 2012 all sale, importation and movement of Ash trees has been prohibited. We are now also reporting the import of other tree species which may be at risk from other diseases within Europe. Government restrictions on Ash are unlikely to be lifted for some time and we may have to wait several years for the research and breeding of resistant clones before Ash reappears for planting. However, our sales team will be happy to discuss a range of alternative trees to suit your scheme, native or ornamental and any future climate change implications.

Further information can be found on the Forestry Commission web site: -