The national news has been covering stories of the Chalara fraxinea fungus that has devastated ash populations in northern and eastern Europe, and has now been confirmed in British trees.
Sadly, it has been said that if the government had not ignored warnings from the horticulture industry in 2007 and 2009, then it may not have cut the funding for studying tree diseases, and the infiltration of the disease could have been prevented.
If you have ash trees in your garden, first of all don’t be alarmed, as there are a number of causes of the symptoms of chalara fraxinea. Look out for dark patches on the leaves – these can spread with cankers emerging on twigs branches. If you find these, do get it checked by an expert to confirm if it is the disease. See: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/9648451/Ash-dieback-How-to-spot-it-and-minimise-the-spread.html for details of who to report it to.
Chalara fraxinea is thought to have originally come into the UK from Japan via imports of ash trees for timber and gardens. It could also have travelled on the wind over the Channel.
Defra has now banned the import of ash and is killing all trees found in recent plantings and nurseries. Movement of ash trees around Great Britain is also banned.
Fortunately,Gabriel Ash still has plenty of our ash-handled Sneeboer garden hand tools in stock so you can still order for Christmas.
Author: Robert Smith