Warning issued over Chalara outbreak

Health experts have issued another warning after a second outbreak of ash dieback disease was found. The disease, which is caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea, causes trees to lose their leaves and eventually die. A warning was first issued in June after a batch of diseased ash plants was shipped from a supplier in the Netherlands to a nursery in Buckinghamshire.
The Food & Environment Research Agency (Fera) have so far managed to trace almost all of the plants, which were sold to retail buyers. However, there are still investigations being carried on a batch of young ash trees in Leicestershire, where the disease was discovered.

Forestry Commission plant health science head Dr John Morgan described the outbreak as “worrying”.

“This is a very worrying development. C. fraxinea is an aggressive pathogen which has the potential to inflict considerable damage on Britain’s ash trees,” he said.

“Ash is a much-loved native species which is important for its timber, woodfuel, wildlife, biodiversity and landscape benefits, and it is one of our most numerous tree species.”

He added that professionals working in the nursery and tree sectors and anyone who looks after land with ash trees on it should report any suspicious symptoms without delay.