Chalara dieback of ash in Great Britain.

You'll probably have seen in the press or on television or heard on radio that there is a serious fungal disease of ash trees that has appeared in Britain probably brought from continental Europe where the disease has caused the widespread death of ash. Articles in papers such as the Sunday Times have called it a threat equivalent to the outbreak of the virulent Dutch Elm disease in the 1960s and 70s but as ash occurs in both woodland and hedges, unlike elm that was more common in hedges, the potential change to our landscape is much greater,

The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback. Unfortunately the symptoms for Chalara may also be caused by other ash problems; physical damage, other fungi and a bud moth as well as frost damage so viewing the pictures on the F.C. website is essential.

We need to be very vigilant about the disease it seems to be spreading fast although at the moment its nearest point to us is just north of Watford it could easily and rapidly spread though the mechanism for this is not yet understood. The Forestry Commission are treating the disease very seriously and will use statutory plant health notices to enforce its control as well as prevent movement of ash seeds and plants.

The Forestry Commission has produced information sheets and a pictorial guide to the symptoms of the disease caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinii and these are available at www.forestry.gov.uk/England – Chalara. To report the disease the number for the Forestry Commission is 0117 3721070.

Ash dieback progress.

The University of Exeter and a consortium of other universities and organisations in the UK and in Europe have been granted money for research on the fungus that causes Ash dieback. This research will examine the genes of Ash trees to find out how susceptible and resistant trees differ, the interaction between the fungus and trees and help develop effective control strategies. At present little is known about the fungus and why it is so aggressive. The aim is to get research underway very quickly so the results can be applied to help save our third most common broadleaf tree.

It is hoped this research might also help understand fungal diseases affecting a range of trees and other plants.

Trees For Dorset



Autumn – Winter 2017/18


Wednesday 11 October  Springhead, Fontmell Magna – Ancient Tree            

      10.30am-4.30pm   Forum and walk around Gore Woods

Saturday 14 October   Springhead, Fontmell Magna – Lectures on

      10.30am-4pm   ash dieback and medicinal importance of ash                               trees

Saturday 28 October   Trip to Stourhead House and Gardens.  Coach        9.30am-4.45pm               and ticket (cost to be arranged).  National Trust

     members free – just pay for coach

Saturday 25 November  Kingston Maurward – Demonstration and talk    2.30pm-4.30pm                           on  Bonsai trees by Nigel Hewish, Head                               Gardener

Saturday 2 December   Tree planting on Portland

     First Session – 10.30am-12.45pm (if needed,                              soup available – please let Rachel know on                               01929-462423)

     Second Session – 2pm-3pm


Wednesday 31 January  Dorford Centre, Dorchester.  Talk on “Tree

        7.30pm-9pm   Diseases” by Derek Brinsley

Wednesday 7 February  Illustrated Talk on “Trees for Birds” by Toby

        7.30pm-9pm   Branston (former Warden on Arne Nature                               RSPB Reserve) at the Dorford Centre,                               Dorchester  

February  (date tbc)   Talk on “Trees and Wildlife” at Christchurch

     by Dr Tony Warne (details to follow)

Friday 9 March   Talk “In Praise of Trees” by Julian Hight plus

       7pm    tree nibbles at the Corn Exchange, Dorchester.

     Followed by brief Trees for Dorset AGM

Friday 23 March   Quiz Night at Winfrith Village Hall (details to

Doors open 6.30pm   follow)

For more information please contact Rachel Palmer on 01929 462423