In the news: Ash disease

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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Mon Nov 05, 2012 2:35 pm

They seem to be dribbling the bad news out a bit a time - it gets worse each time:

* Initially they said disease spotted in Norfolk, then 50,000 trees destroyed, last I heard 100,000.
* Recent news stories started around June but then BBC said HTA (Horticutural Trade Association) warned government of it in 2009.
* Now say HTA say they warned Forestry Commission in 2009 and government first told in 2007.
* Initially reported disease in Norfolk, then Buckinghamshire, today Kent - & now they say diseased trees were already distributed across the nation.
* They estimate 1/3 of British trees are ash (really?), perhaps 70 millions trees are at risk
* Nursery owner is suing government: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-envir ... icRSS20-sa

* BAN ON MOVING ASH TREES NOW IN PLACE* Wash boots, tyres, equipment, dogs, kids, wombats if you are visiting wooded areas and might transport spores.
Last edited by ToneWood on Wed Dec 19, 2012 2:39 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby Darren » Mon Nov 05, 2012 9:34 pm

I don't think washing boots and tyres will make much difference. Unless we can get birds and deer to wash their feet too.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Mon Nov 05, 2012 10:25 pm

It's the official advice and probably all that is practical for regular folk. Similar to precautions for Foot & Mouth. It's worth a try - anything to impede it. I've got ash on the fence-line in my garden, within sight of where Dutch Elm killed a row of impressively tall, slender elms when I was young. I'd hate to loose them but I think we might :(.

I'm wondering what effect the weather might have on this. We've had near constant rain this year, maybe that will help reduce wind born spread of spores - or maybe the damp will help it thrive? Might a cold, hard winter help, or long dry summer? I guess we'll see. It seems a lot like when Dutch Elm first started to hit the news though :(.

I watched a small open bed truck carrying two young trees on the motoroway today - if the trees had been diseased ash, it could have spread spores for miles.

BTW Essex was added to the list of confirmed cases on this evenings news :(. There is some preliminary report due out tomorrow - I doubt if it is good news.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby Darren » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:56 pm

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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby Darren » Tue Nov 06, 2012 9:28 pm

More news http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/965259 ... d-ash.html
I'm inclined to let nature take its course and let the strongest survive.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:20 pm

Our Glorious Leaders/patricians (past & present) and tree importers have left us with no alternative. Having closed the stable door after the horse has bolted.

It has become a spectator "sport": Ash dieback: Spotter's guide and maps - BBC

Image

Looking at woods, hedgerows and motorways sidings recently - the estimate of upto 1/3 of UK trees being Ash seems too high to me. They certainly crop up frequently but I would estimate, from what I have seen recently, that they make less that 1/6th of trees and I would suspect even lower than that. But they do crop up in many different environments (e.g. hedgerows, gardens, motorway sidings, bridleways, footpaths, woods, parks). But perhaps there are woods full of them elsewhere in the country(?).

Perhaps we should ban the import (& export) of all trees & plants, and of timber with the bark on? No doubt the government would soon start making exceptions but then, at least, perhaps some checks immediately before and immediately after import could made. It's rather against modern political ideas like "open markets", "open borders" and "less red-tape" - but perhaps it is a sensible safe-guard nonetheless. Apparently there are no safeguards currently, nothing was learnt from Dutch Elm, the government & civil servants are making this up as they go along, again, "winging it". You can sense the panic - they left it too late.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Thu Nov 08, 2012 3:08 pm

The minister suggested that this may have blown across from the continent (through all this rain and against prevailing winds), rather than being brought in on the hundreds of thousands of imported ash trees that they let in unchecked and, even when found to be diseased, left to spread disease for weeks/months. Hmm.

"Ash dieback: App developed to track diseased trees" - BBC

The Saturday Times Personal/Consumer Finance section (I think) had a piece on ash die-back this weekend too. If you have ash trees in your garden (I do), you will quite likely loose them. Home insurance usually won't cover this. It'll be up to you to get any required permissions (e.g. if in a conservation area or if tree has a preservation order) and to pay for tree surgeons/arborists/... to deal with it (i.e. fell them). There may be addition requirements regarding report infection & destruction orders. :(
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby Darren » Fri Nov 09, 2012 3:20 pm

It is reasonable to say it may of blown over. Remember the Birch pollen that blew over a few years ago? Ash imports have been the major carrier of the disease.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby RJWEcology » Fri Nov 09, 2012 7:26 pm

ToneWood wrote:If you have ash trees in your garden (I do), you will quite likely loose them. Home insurance usually won't cover this. It'll be up to you to get any required permissions (e.g. if in a conservation area or if tree has a preservation order) and to pay for tree surgeons/arborists/... to deal with it (i.e. fell them). There may be addition requirements regarding report infection & destruction orders. :(


I went to a talk at Bute Park (in Cardiff) last weekend and the dendrologist giving the talk (which was excellent by the way) mentioned this. He said that they would also have to be burned in-situ and not removed from the site (maybe like J. Knotweed?).

I'm personally very shocked that this wasn't dealt with sooner and that it took so long to become headline news. It may not be the most titillating news we're usually forced to hear about , but it's going to have MASSIVE effects on many species, ecology, habitats etc... :cry:
“When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world” ~ John Muir
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Fri Nov 09, 2012 8:44 pm

Burn in place :( Yes, I suppose we'd have to wouldn't we. What a waste, it makes excellent fire wood/chairs/tool handles/...
Darren wrote:It is reasonable to say it may of blown over. ... Ash imports have been the major carrier of the disease.

I don't blame him particularly. I would think his predecessor(s) in the last government is possibly more to blame, as they received the early warnings and failed to act. The civil servants who advised all ministers concerned possibly have the most to answer for - and the "scientists" who allegedly misinformed them. Apparently they took a long time to issue destruction orders once the disease had been confirmed in a nursery. The HTA (Horticultural Trades Association) have been vocal in blaming the government, having first warned them in 1989 -- but wouldn't it have been their members that imported the trees in the first place, and continued to import them through 2012? And why are we buying imported ash trees - actually, I think I know the answer to that one, very few products have country-of-origin on them these days (which I think is bad) and provenance is often unknown or deliberately hidden or misleading. [I haven't needed to buy any ash, mine self seed readily. But we have bought and planted fruit & nut trees (still no chocolate bars though :D) and silver birch, which I suppose could just as easily have been covertly imported with disease. :(]

Japan / Poland?
Interesting piece in the paper (last Saturday's Times I think), they reckon the disease probably originated in Japan, where it exists on Asian ash trees but is not damaging (so perhaps we'll need to adopt or cross-breed/hybridize any remaining/resilient ash with those?). They reckon it may have been transported by a visiting Japanese to an eastern European country (I think Poland was marked as the earliest country known to be infected on the article's accompanying map, followed I think by the Czech Republic). They reckon it has progressed at about 20 miles per year - although on the BBC news today they said 30 miles per year (the news just seems to get worse & worse).
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby SeanHellman » Sat Nov 10, 2012 8:24 pm

I am sure that far more research could have been done and steps taken years ago to limit the damage. Yet again the big wigs and money men have cut back research and funding. It is like bolting the stable door once the horse has left and been minced up for dog food. Far too little far too late.

I am sure that its bark is far worse than its blight. But this is nature, it has happened before and will happen again
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Re: In the news: Ash disease - Northern Ireland

Postby ToneWood » Mon Nov 19, 2012 8:11 pm

Heard on the news Friday evening that Ash Die-back has been confirmed on imported ash trees in Northern Ireland :(
Apparently - as is the fashion with this story, the details get worse over time - 5 sites have now been identified.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-20364383

Secondary infection ruins the wood apparently...
Image
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20404652
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby simon » Wed Nov 21, 2012 11:58 am

On BBC Radio 4 "Saving Species" has a program about this.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0 ... woodlands/
It includes a couple of bits from Oliver Rackham talking, what seems to me, to be profound good sence.
A rather more long term view, rather than running around shouting "Don't panic"
Make it, mend it, wear it out,
Make it do or do without.
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Re: In the news: Ash disease

Postby ToneWood » Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:10 pm

Good link [ash features in intro, main piece on ash starts at 04:30min & goes to the end of the show]. Some interesting points included: The "workhorse of the woods"(v. "Venus of the forest"). Number one threat to trees? "Globalization of tree diseases." (#2 is deer/squirrel/wildlife; #3 climate change). Apparently mature crack-willow is dying off here too. 5 million ash trees imported into Britain between 2003-2009, most probably from Holland. Wasted effort - we'll loose more trees than we planted. And we'll loose rare, mature old trees - impossible to replace. We risk ending up with "plantations" rather than "natural woods", with their mature eco-systems. Probably better & safer to let woods growth/extend/regenerate naturally.

I hadn't realized that the new National Forest is already well underway (http://www.nationalforest.org/) :), thought it lost out on Lottery Funding to cycle-paths when public voted. Started by the government in April 1995 apparently. "Grant in aid for 2011/2012 has been set at £3.16m." -- seems quite a modest amount of money for such an inspiring national resource, when the governments regularly waste tens, hundreds and even thousands of millions of pounds (of our money).

I thought ash only lived 80-150 years but the radio show above estimates one old pollarded ash at 500 years old & another TV piece suggested (perhaps a little mischievously) that one tree might be 1000 years old. I have recently noticed several old ash trees locally. I hadn't realized they were ash before. The bark is quite different on older trees, no longer smooth and green-brown, more grey and deeply textured, the old trees are tall with wide trunks.

They are suggesting that gardeners burn fallen ash leaves now: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... rivet.html
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