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Farmers to Help in Ash Dieback Survey

NFU Scotland is urging farmers to play their part in identifying and eradicating a fungal disease threatening the nation’s ash trees.

Chalara dieback of ash, caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea (C. fraxinea) causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and it can lead to tree death. The fungus has caused widespread damage to ash tree populations in continental Europe since it was first reported as an unknown new disease in Poland in 1992.

The first British case was confirmed in imported ash plants in a nursery in Buckinghamshire early in 2012. Since then, infected plants have been confirmed in nurseries in a wide range of locations including Scotland. The disease has also been found in recent plantings of young ash trees at a Forestry Commission Scotland woodland near Kilmacolm, west of Glasgow.

As part of a nation-wide push, Forestry Commission Scotland is undertaking a rapid survey of ash trees this week and NFU Scotland is asking its members to assist.

NFU Scotland’s Communications Director Bob Carruth said:

“This disease presents a huge plant health challenge to an iconic tree species.  Forestry Commission Scotland is undertaking a challenging survey of ash trees across Scotland to determine the extent of the threat and to inform the control and eradication plan.

“I hope farmers, if approached, will help Forestry Commission Scotland with this hugely important work.

“In addition, many farmers will have their own farm woodlands and are likely to know if ash trees make up the mix of species.  I would urge them to study the information available on ash dieback and check on the health of their own ash trees.  Any signs of disease can be reported to the Forestry Commission to follow up.”  
 
Notes to Editors

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 128/12


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