Management of ash die back on our estate
With site managers across our estate tasked with managing our woods in an appropriate way to cope with ash trees infected with ash die back, we wanted to ensure that those of you volunteering within our woods are aware of our approach to this issue and can ensure your safety when undertaking volunteer activity on our estate.
The Woodlands Trust position is to manage our estate to retain tolerant ash trees where possible, while addressing our obligations to public and contractor safety. An extract from our position statement is below:
‘When faced with the impact of ash dieback, a landowner could be forgiven for thinking that the best way to manage the problem is to remove all of the ash trees as soon as possible. However, during an epidemic there will be a proportion of trees that will survive, and it is these trees that go on to build a tolerant future ash population. In addition, more trees will survive once the initial disease phase has moved through and the inoculum levels drop off, eventually leading to a balance between the fungus and host. Therefore, leaving as many symptomatic and asymptomatic ash trees as possible in the landscape will lead to greater future resilience to this disease. In addition, both standing and recumbent dead and decaying wood provides a very important conservation function in a wood and is extremely important for many species.’
With this in mind there will be diseased ash trees, off footpaths within our estate, that will be left standing.
It is important if you are undertaking volunteer activity off the main footpaths in a wood that you firstly know how to recognise a diseased ash tree and secondly make sure that you are aware this tree may well be unstable and be aware of dead falling branches. If you come across these trees within the woodland, please give them a wide berth and do not under any circumstances attempt to undertake any management of them.
In order that you can recognise an infected tree, if you need it, below is a link to the Forestry Commission leaflet on ‘Managing Ash Die Back’, page 3 of which has some useful simple advice on recognising the disease symptoms. If you are volunteering off our footpaths in our woods, please make sure you are able to do this.
This link will also take you to the location of our full position statement on ash die back.
Many thanks for your helps and support on this
Photo Credit, David Mark