Ash Dieback Action Plan

Tuesday 9 April 2019

Ash Dieback is a huge problem in the UK, including the Chilterns. The Tree Council has concluded that: “Only seven years after its official identification in the UK, Ash Dieback has already started having significant impacts on the country’s treescape. Although it is still too early to understand whether any trees will prove to be resistant to the fungus, the stark reality is that over 90% of the 2 billion ash trees across the UK are likely to be infected in the years to come.”

Apart from the cost of removing dead trees, Ash Dieback has a significant impact on harming people and their property, putting aside the environmental concerns it raises for UK wildlife, landscapes and ecology. That's why the Tree Council have put together a very useful toolkit that outlines the range of issues associated with this alarming disease and explains their views on the steps land managers might take to be prepared as Ash Dieback spreads. You can download the toolkit here.

The Toolkit offers a tried and tested Action Plan to tackle the challenges of Ash Dieback. The first stage is to learn how to identify the disease which is caused by a fungus that arrived from Asia during the 1990s. Symptoms are visible on leaves in the form of spots and/or shrivelled and deformed leaves. On branches and twigs, look out for diamond shaped lesions which later crack and split. There may also be branch dieback leading to a decline in the tree canopy. Eventually the tree will die - this can occur quite quickly over one season or take longer.



Once you have identified Ash Dieback, the message from the Tree Council is to plan for it by managing your woodland. It is important to understand that in losing numbers of Ash trees, biodiversity will inevitably be affected. So to minimise the loss of species supported by Ash trees, we must plant other trees that support those same species previously reliant on Ash trees.

The Toolkit plan works towards managing a recovery phase, in which managers of woodlands can create a resilient treescape resistant to future disease issues. This can be achieved through diversity, managing healthy conditions, promoting connectivity of treescapes and increasing tree numbers.

The Tree Council have put together some basic pointers to follow:

  • Act now to minimise the landscape impact of tree loss
  • Plant 3 trees for each large tree lost
  • Promote natural regeneration through connectivity
  • Plant the right trees for the right situation and provide the right aftercare
  • Plant a diverse range to promote resilience
  • Only use trees sourced from within the UK to avoid diseased plants
  • Choose appropriate species by considering local factors such as soil type, and by planting native species that help support wildlife and the landscape 

If you have Ash trees on your property, please look out for signs of disease and prepare for it by reading the Toolkit provided by the Tree Council.




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