Contact the Bridport News with your stories, pictures and video footage. Send us an email
‘Devastating’ ash dieback found in wood
A CASE of ‘devastating’ tree disease ash dieback has been confirmed in West Dorset.
The site, near the A35 in woodland between Bridport and Dorchester is the first area in the county to be hit by the disease which has swept across England.
Dorset Wildlife Trust experts are to meet to discuss what can be done about the outbreak.
Trees and woodlands officer Abigail Gibbs said: “I think it is a case of being vigilant. It was only a matter of time as the disease is spread by the wind. This could be devastating for the county.”
A Defra spokeswoman was unable to confirm the exact location of the outbreak without permission of the landowner, but the site is understood to be on private land.
Dorset is the 13th county in England where ash dieback, also known as chalara, has been found in the wider environment, the term used to describe forests and woodlands. Chief plant health officer at Defra Martin Ward said: “We expected to see new cases once the leaves came through on ash trees.
“The better informed we are, the more effective we can be to reduce the impact of this disease, and we will be investigating closely.”
Research is being carried out in East Anglia to expose saplings to ash dieback and monitor any which show signs of resisting it.
Abigail said: “In plantations and young trees, we can cut them down and burn them, but with mature trees it is more difficult. The tree might have natural resilience which we want to encourage. We don’t want a knee-jerk reaction of felling trees that might be able to outgrow this.”
The disease was discovered in England last autumn and has been confirmed at 557 sites including 198 locations in the wider environment. A map showing the locations is at forestry.gov.uk/chalara Signs include dead, brown and crinkly leaves, lesions in the bark and dead branches in the crown.
There is little the public can do to prevent it, although restrictions have been placed on moving ash trees nationally and walkers are advised to ensure boots and car tyres are clear of leaves at the start and end of visits.
Possible outbreaks should be reported to Dorset Wildlife Trust or the Forestry Commission.
Comments are closed on this article.