To those in a nice flat in the city Chalara Fraxinea, or Ash Dieback as it is commonly known, is probably a (brief) discussion point over a gingerbread latte before returning to the truly important topic of ‘Strictly’. For those with a few trees it becomes at least relevant but for people like us it is a huge huge disaster. We have over 2 acres of mature woodland that is roughly 90% ash. The aim is to coppice the woodland to provide us with all of our heating and hot water needs. If we lose our ash trees not only will we have a decimated woodland which will take 10 years to restore but we will have to buy in wood to heat the house over that time, which we can ill afford.
Ash is my favourite wood – so much so that it is the logo of our website. This is due to its wonderful burning properties, beautifully light and open canopy that encourages undergrowth and clean subtle grain, strength and workability for furniture and building. Not only would we be in trouble from a self-sufficiency point of view if we lose our Ash but, in a truly tree-hugger way, we would be very upset at the loss of some graceful, powerful and, not to mention, old trees.
So a quick update on the facts (thanks wiki):
- -The disease is characterised by leaf loss and crown dieback in the infected trees
- -First discovered in Poland in 1992… yes, 20 years ago!
- -By 2008 the disease was also discovered in Scandinavia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Germany, Austria and Switzerland
- -By 2012 it had spread to Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Britain and Ireland.
- -The number of sites has doubled in the UK within the last month
- -Young trees will usually die in their first year. Older trees may survive a few seasons but will succumb eventually
- -A proportion (<5%) seem to have a genetic resistance to the disease