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Woodland in the North Pennines
Woodland in the North Pennines

Chalara dieback of ash

The AONB Partnership is asking people to be vigilant in the North Pennines

People living in and visiting the North Pennines AONB are being asked to be vigilant for any signs of Chalara dieback in ash trees in the area.

Serious disease

Chalara dieback of ash is a serious disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea. The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and it can lead to tree death.

Critical landscape feature

Director of the AONB Partnership, Chris Woodley-Stewart, said: “Ash trees are a major component of the North Pennines landscape; losing these trees would significantly alter the character of our woodlands, many of our field boundaries and the overall feel of the landscape in parts of the AONB”.

Mr Woodley-Stewart added: “We are supporting the Forestry Commission and FERA Plant Health, as much as we can, in their efforts to safeguard the native woodlands in the area”.

Assisting the Forestry Commission

The AONB Partnership has written to the owners of new woodlands planted during the Partnership’s HLF-funded Living North Pennines project, which created over 300ha of new native woodland within the North Pennines. Ash trees were a major component of these planting schemes. Details of all these woodlands and their owners have been shared with the Forestry Commission and FERA Plant Health to assist them in their work inspecting newly-established woodland.

AONB Partnership Woodland Officer Lis Airey added: “Everyone can help by familiarising themselves with the symptoms of the disease, not touching material they think may be infected, and reporting any suspicious symptoms they find to the Forestry Commission as soon as possible.”

Further information

The best source of information on Chalara dieback (including pictorial identification guides and a really useful video clip) is the Forestry Commission website – www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara. If you spot any suspicious symptoms contact the commission’s ‘Report It’ hotline on 08459 335577 (8am-6pm) (plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk). Up to the minute updates are available by following @treepestnews on twitter.

Released: 08 November 2012

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