In the news: Ash disease

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In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Wed Jun 13, 2012 8:30 pm

I came across an article on a new outbreak of some hideous tree disease in the Times this weekend - from Holland again!!! :(

This time ash is the affected species. Ash grow like weeds in my garden, literally - surely we don't need to import ash. I have only recently started to appreciate this wonderful tree, the "Venus of the forest" as the Ladybird book of trees describes it. Tool handles, chairs, hurdles and - heaven forbid - fire wood. Now they too are threatened (after elm, then chestnut) :(

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/countr ... -time.html
Image
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/ ... lings.html
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"the virulent disease ash dieback caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea"
http://www.hortweek.com/Landscape/artic ... s-Britain/
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby anobium » Thu Jul 05, 2012 8:07 pm

Here in France old sweet chestnut trees are dying. The cause is Cryptonectria parasitica, a fungal disease which happens to be the same as that which decimated the North American forests a century ago. So far young coppice stools do not seem to be affected.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Fri Jul 06, 2012 12:38 pm

Yes chestnuts are dying in the UK too from some disease/parasite that came in a year or two ago. I think this it:
Sweet Chestnut: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/newsrele.nsf ... BA006AD5B2 - from France apparently.
Or perhaps it was this one:
Horse chestnut: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/7549489.stm (moths from Greece & Macedonia)

A large tree fell down a month or so ago in our village. It is still precariously suspended above a popular bridal-way & footpath. I took a closer look at it recently and I believe it is an ash (was difficult to tell as it was covered in ivy and the leaves were not fully out). In the rotten and rather hollowed base I found some 1cm diameter "worm holes". At the end on them, large beetles - rather like a stag beetle without the horns. Not sure if this is some sort of dangerous wood-borer parasite or simply a beetle that found a nice soft piece of already rotten wood to winter in. I suspect the latter, certainly hope so. (Stag beetles are now rare & protected.)
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby anobium » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:31 am

Tone Wood, did the beetles have very long antennae? if so they are probably the Great Capricorn Beetle Cerambyx cerdo, a saproxylic ( eats dead wood) species which is also protected.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Sat Jul 07, 2012 8:10 am

This?
Image
No. More round, black, shiny, like this (Dor Beetle): http://www.wildaboutbritain.co.uk/briti ... tification
Image

Almost 40 years ago I did come across 2 impressively large stag beetles in the field behind my house, in a dead, hollowed-out hedgehog - so they do/did exist around here.
So, perhaps a stag beetle like the one on the right here: http://www.jonathanlatimer.com/invertebrates.htm
ImageImage

Other contenders, short horned stag beetle:
Image
Mintor Beetle:
Image
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bAwVkArTosE
These are mostly burrowing dung beetles but the tree is next to a meadow, with sheep & rabbits. The stag beetles apparently lay their eggs in rotten wood & feed on sap - so perhaps more likely.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby robin wood » Sat Jul 07, 2012 10:10 am

Journalists love horror stories about this or that tree dieing out, we were going to be without alders as well a year or two ago, everyone is horrified yet I doubt if 1 in 100 people could recognise an alder. Maybe 1 in 10 for ash? How many recognise elm? I have had conversations with folk who have told me what a loss it was that all the elms were gone whilst we were stood beneath a large one.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby Robin Fawcett » Sat Jul 07, 2012 12:55 pm

I agree with Rob - everything will probably get here eventually...

ToneWood wrote: - from Holland again!!!

Dutch Elm Disease didn't actually originate in Holland but that was where it was first identified and studied I think sometime in the 1920's
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby robin wood » Sat Jul 07, 2012 2:18 pm

Robin Fawcett wrote:I agree with Rob - everything will probably get here eventually...

ToneWood wrote: - from Holland again!!!

Dutch Elm Disease didn't actually originate in Holland but that was where it was first identified and studied I think sometime in the 1920's


Indeed there are well recorded outbreaks of elm disease going back over 2000 years on a fairly regular basis the last one around 1915 or so if I remember correctly. Silly folk talk about breeding resistant trees as if something with a life cycle of centuries is going to adapt faster than something with a life cycle of less than a year. The disease is a fungus spread by a beetle, every now and then the fungus mutates to a virulent strain that kills the host (bad evolutionary plan) so in the 80s elms died. Then over time the fungus mutates back to gradually less virulent forms which kill the tree but the roots throw new suckers and finally a tree will just show dieback and recover.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby anobium » Sat Jul 07, 2012 6:17 pm

First pic shows Cerambyx cerdo the long horned capricorn, the second is Hister cadaverinus, and the other pix are of the stag beetle Lucanus cervus.
No question that old chestnut trees are dying here in France and medium sized trees are becoming stag-headed.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Sun Jul 08, 2012 7:16 am

robin wood wrote:Journalists love horror stories about this or that tree dieing out, we were going to be without alders as well a year or two ago, everyone is horrified yet I doubt if 1 in 100 people could recognise an alder. Maybe 1 in 10 for ash? How many recognise elm? I have had conversations with folk who have told me what a loss it was that all the elms were gone whilst we were stood beneath a large one.
Yes, I noticed that. Shark story(s) at the start of the Summer is another annual event, usually near some holiday area like Cornwall.

I would have trouble identifying an elm these days, although my brother will point out a small one occasionally. When I was child, there used to be an impressive line of them, comfortably spaced, very tall and slender, in a row in the field behind our house (the one with the stag beetles) - which was also a large rookery. They all died when Dutch elm hit. There is just a fence line there now. Apparently they do still grow but, around here at least, when they reach a certain age/size, they just wither and die - they don't grow big or tall here anymore. I guess some might consider that natural selection (eventually only resistant trees remain) & evolution (only the most resistant trees thrive), others a control system (trees die, food source gone, disease declines, trees return, disease returns,...). Happy to see that the rooks have recently started to come back, in much smaller numbers, nesting in trees that have grown up nearby in the intervening years.

Apparently we've imported trees & timber for hundreds of years. Reading that weighty tome, the ladybird book of trees :), I was surprised at how many now common tree species are not native to the UK but were imported at various points in the past (off the top of my head, horse & sweet chestnut, London plane, some types of oak, among others). The yew used for many of the bows found on Henry VIII's Mary Rose came from Spain. Some of the big timbers used in Salisbury Cathedral came from Ireland.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:53 pm

BBC Radio 4 resurrected this story today (apparently from the Independent). Quiet news day? Perhaps not. Apparently they think imports of ash should be banned immediately. Apparently Denmark lost 90% of its ash to this disease in just 7 years - not unlike Dutch elm disease then.

http://www.independent.co.uk/environmen ... 75715.html

BBC's list of tree diseases: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-19197660

They think ash might account for 30% of forest trees in the UK - so a 90% loss would have a huge impact.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Fri Oct 12, 2012 9:16 am

From the Countryside Alliance today:

Calling for a ban on ash tree imports

Ash die back is having a devastating impact on our native ash trees and without immediate action the dieback of ash could cause widespread destruction to one of our most common native broadleaf trees in Great Britain. The situation is already dire in central Europe with 90 per cent of ash trees in Denmark having been lost in seven years.

The disease causes leaf loss and has already killed trees in England, Scotland and parts of mainland Europe. The infected trees in the UK had come from nurseries in Europe or had been in contact with imported ash trees.

The Countryside Alliance is backing the Woodland Trust's call for an immediate ban on the imports of ash trees to the UK. Without immediate action the dieback of ash could become the new Dutch elm disease.

The Government has rightly recognised the threat this disease poses to our native ash trees and has launched a consultation on managing the threat to the UK's ash trees. The consultation closes on October 26 and we would urge you to respond supporting option 2 - an eradication programme.


The link in their post was broken. Here are the correct links (I think):
http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/con ... /index.cfm
http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/pla ... bleNew.cfm

Ash tree saplings pop up like weeds in my garden and grow quickly, so it seems bizarre to me that the UK imports (often diseased) ash trees from elsewhere.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Thu Oct 25, 2012 12:20 pm

The Ash disease story made Radio 4's Today program again this morning and the front page of the BBC news website today - despite other news including Jimmy Saville scandal, 2 dead in Afghanistan (male & female soldiers) & first positive economic figures today:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20079657

Apparently the Ash disease has been confirmed in Norfolk :( Apparently it is fungal, so spores can be spread by the wind, on the continent up to 22km. As Ash is the 4th most common broad-leaf tree in Britain and is common in hedgerows, the fear is that it could readily spread countrywide, as Dutch Elm Disease did :(.

Identification:
PDF file: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/pest-ale ... k-2012.pdf
YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1GpufLkBto&feature=plcp
Bio-(in)security video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=en ... ODFkE&NR=1 (Clean tools, boots, machinery, ...).
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Sun Oct 28, 2012 5:21 pm

Front page of the Sunday Telegraph today: Fight to save a third of Britain's trees from killer fungus - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/countr ... ungus.html
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Mon Oct 29, 2012 2:07 pm

On BBC TV news today: ban on importing ash comes in today. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20107186
27 October 2012 Last updated at 15:01
Ash tree import ban to halt disease

A ban on the import of ash trees will come into force on Monday in an attempt to halt the spread of a deadly disease, the environment secretary has said.
Owen Paterson has denied ministers were slow to react to the outbreak.
The Chalara fraxinea fungus, which causes Chalara dieback, has already killed 90% of ash trees in Denmark and has been found in East Anglia.

Mr Paterson said 50,000 ash trees have already been destroyed to try to prevent the spread of the disease.
...
Mr Paterson said: "We will bring in a ban on Monday. I have already prepared the legislation and we're ready to go. The evidence is clearly there."
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