FOLLOWING the discovery of Chalara fraxinea or ‘ash die-back’ in mature woodland in Suffolk, the Government has banned all imports of live ash trees.

The disease causes leaf loss and crown die-back in affected trees, and can lead ultimately to tree death. It has the potential to kill millions of ash trees if it becomes widely established in Britain.

Ash makes up around 40 per cent of our native woodland in some areas and it is commonly found in our churchyards. It vital, therefore, that any new instances of the disease are reported to the Forestry Commission as a matter of urgency.

What are the signs?

The signs of the disease include:

  • black/brown discolouration of the leaf base and midrib
  • small lens-shaped lesions or black spots on the bark of stems and branches
  • trees with withered tops and shoots.

What should you do?

If you find signs of the disease, take photographs and contact the Forestry Commission Plant Health Service on 0131 314 6414, immediately.

Even if you do not find signs of infection, this does not mean that your trees will remain unaffected in the long term. Monthly inspections are recommended until further guidance is received from the Government.

For further information, visit the Forestry Commission’s website, or e-mail