CPRE - Ash Tree Dieback Investigation 2015/16

The Project


Ash tree dieback (Chalara Fraxinea) was investigated in the Severn Vale area in 2015/16 as part of the Geography BSc Internship module at the University of Gloucestershire on behalf Campaign to Protect Rural England’s 5 year study. Ash dieback disease is a fungal disease that kills the tree and has been spreading throughout the UK. in 2015/16 ash tree dieback was a concern across the UK but had not been identified in the Gloucestershire area.  Since this study the disease has been found in the South Gloucestershire area (Source: South Gloucestershire Council).

For the study areas of interest containing ash trees were identified from the Forestry Commission’s Woodland Inventory 2015 dataset, using GIS software and then two trips were completed to areas most likely to have evidence of the disease (See map below). The below map shows the areas investigated which as of 2015 showed possible signs of ash tree dieback from the lesions in the trees and the retention of the seeds during winter. Also it was evident from the two trips that private and public landowners were tackling the disease through management plans, reducing the impact and spread of the disease.

Ashtree Dieback Symptoms:

  • Leaf death, often beginning at the tip and extending into the leaf vein
  • Brown or black discolouration of the leaf stem
  • Brown spots developing close to leaf scars or side shoots
  • Dead leaves being held on the tree. This is not to be confused with the hanging seeds, which are normal.
  • Dieback of the tree crown, so that the ends of branches are visibly dead

(Source: South Gloucestershire Council).

What to do if you find Ash Dieback?

If you believe you have woodland with the above symptoms, the government is urging suspected cases to be reported to the following specialist bodies:

Forest Research Disease Diagnostic Advisory Service
Tel. 01420 23000; Email ddas.ah@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Forestry Commission Plant Health Service
Tel. 0131 3146414; Email plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
Fera Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate
Tel. 01904 465625; Email planthealth.info@fera.gsi.gov.uk

Open Government Licence – Credit: © Natural England copyright. Contains Ordnance Survey data © Crown copyright and database right 2019.