Ash dieback

Ash trees are at risk of the ash dieback fungus © Joe Cornish

Ash trees are at risk of the ash dieback fungus

About the disease

The Government's latest control plan on ash dieback could buy us time. Dr Simon Pryor, our director of the natural environment said:
'It is too late to eradicate this disease, but this plan could buy us time. If we – Government, landowners and foresters – can all work together to reduce the rate at which it spreads across the country we can find ways to ease its impact on our landscapes and wildlife.'

The ash tree is a native British species of tree, providing around five per cent of all woodland cover in the UK.

There are an estimated 80 million ash trees in the UK, helping to shape some of our best loved landscapes. We manage 25,000 hectares (61,776 acres) of woodland and 135 landscape sites and deer parks which include thousands of veteran ash trees and several hundred ancient ash trees over 300 years old.

The Ash dieback fungus, Chalara fraxinea, which causes leaf loss and crown dieback and can lead to tree death, has wiped out 90% of ash trees in Denmark and is widespread throughout central Europe. It was first confirmed as being present in the UK in March 2012 and has the potential to wipe out the UK's ash tree population, which accounts for 20 percent of all trees in the UK.

We're doing all we can to help tackle the disease on our land. We are also working with the Forestry Commission, The Woodland Trust, Fera and Defra on the most effective way to tackle the disease.


The impact of ash dieback

Graeme Cannon, property manager at Ashridge Estate, looks at the potential impact of the ash dieback disease to the Trust.

Ash dieback facts

  • the spores are short lived (weeks or months)
  • relatively high doses of spores are needed to infect trees
  • infection is concentrated in July-August, aided by moist conditions
  • spores are spread by the wind, but generally only 20-30km
  • other species of native tree are not affected
  • other species do not aid in the spread of ash dieback

What we're doing

Ash dieback is of great concern to the Trust. Find out more about the steps we're taking, and our priorities for tackling the disease.

How you can help

We've got some simple steps you can take when visiting gardens or enjoying the countryside.

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