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Ash tree disease - Chalara ash dieback

Chalara ash dieback is a serious disease of ash trees caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus, which causes leaf loss and crown dieback and can lead to ash tree death. The disease was first identified in the UK in nurseries and recently planted sites in February 2012. In October 2012 cases in Norfolk and Suffolk were confirmed in ash trees at sites in the wider natural environment, including established woodland, which did not appear to have any association with recently supplied nursery stock.

Further finds in trees in the wider environment have since been confirmed in a number of places, mostly on the eastern side of England and Scotland, and mostly concentrated in the east and south-east of England. Chalara fraxinea is now being treated as a quarantine pest under national emergency measures and any suspected sighting must be reported.

If you suspect a case of Chalara dieback or want further information about the disease and the new legislation visit the Forestry Commission website (new window).

The Forestry Commission has produced a video and pictorial guide (new window PDF 282KB) showing how to identify the disease.

Suspected cases can be reported to the Chalara helpline on 03459 33 55 77 (open 8am - 6pm every day) or by email to plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk.

Advice to forest visitors

The risk of visitors spreading the disease is very small and the Forestry Commission is not closing forests or advising owners of infected sites to do so. If you are visiting an infected or suspected wood, please take the simple precautions advised by the the Forestry Commission (new window).