Ash Dieback in the UK and Ireland

Posted on December 15, 2016

Ash Dieback, caused by the fungus Chalara Fraxinea, is threatening the UK’s native Ash population which numbers around 26 million trees.

First spotted in Britain 4 years ago the latest news indicates that the fungus is spreading across the UK and in Ireland there is evidence of the fungus being found in native hedgerows with no other evidence of infection nearby.

We are also facing the devastation that could be caused by the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle, which, like Ash Dieback, hails from the Far East and is being tracked across mainland Europe. Infestation of this beetle can be tricky to detect until the symptoms become severe. Ash trees that are affected will show evidence of yellowing and thinning of foliage, dying branches and a dying crown, typically from the top down. Smaller trees can be killed in a single year, but larger trees can take up to four years to die. 

“Ash is an important broadleaf tree in the UK, and is the second most commonly planted genus, and makes up nearly 15% of all broad-leaved woodlands. Its wood is strong but flexible, with many uses including the manufacture of ladders, flooring, handles, sports goods and furniture. Although there is no evidence to date that the Emerald Ash Borer is present in the UK, the increase in global movement of imported wood, wood packaging and dunnage poses a risk of its accidental introduction.” 


Although the EAB threat needs to be carefully monitored, Ash dieback is by far the most pressing concern to our beautiful native Ash trees. The spread of the disease seems unstoppable but there are ways to help.

Identifying Ash dieback in Wintertime

Undoubtedly, it’s much harder to identify trees affected by Ash Dieback in the winter as the tell-tale dead and dying leaves are not evident. You can still be aware of the other symptoms and be on the lookout for Trees exhibiting 

You might be able to see dead or dying branches, the crown of the tree failing or the characteristic staining and lesions on branches.

If you believe you have identified an affected tree please report your sighting via the following page.

Forestry Commission Tree Alert Form

You can track the spread of the disease and identified cases on DEFRAs Map

Chalara Tracking Map DEFRA 


If you have any questions, concerns or require an arborist to check your trees, do not hesitate in contacting us:

Paul Wright – Teign Trees:

01626773499 or 07815837424