Gransnet forums


ash tree disease

(91 Posts)
JessM Thu 25-Oct-12 18:24:03

It is hard to credit isn't it. There has been a devastating ash tree disease in parts of Europe. So we wait until it is here before taking any action.

gma Fri 26-Oct-12 16:50:01

I heard on the BBC news that this disease was brought into the country on imported Ash trees. Am I hearing correctly? Ash trees imported into the UK, surely we have enough of our own already!!!! Can anybody enlighten me? hmm

Jodi Fri 26-Oct-12 18:52:07

I don't understand it either gma it's madness. When will they ever learn? sad

JessM Fri 26-Oct-12 19:12:48

There is a kind of ornamental ash - we have a lot here in MK. Smaller leaves and they go a stunning burgundy right now.
But if they are importing native ash, well what the flip is that about? How hard are they go grow, really. Is it EU rules maybe?
What do we pay all those suits in DEFRA for? Unlike some countries we seem to have no concept of biosecurity at all.
Ash is , i believe, the second commonest UK tree after oak. If they all die - and we saw it with Elm, there will be a huge impact on landscape.

Bags Fri 26-Oct-12 19:22:30

It does seem a bit mad.... no, a lot mad... if we are imprting ash trees. I spend quite a lot of time yanking ash seedlings out of my garden. I'd have a forest in no time otherwise, what with ash, sycamore and birch... not to mention wild plum, bird cherry and holly.

If the disease doesn't spread to here I'll set up in business re-stocking the UK.

NfkDumpling Fri 26-Oct-12 21:02:58

Am I right that this disease has been here and known about for about two years? Why weren't imports stopped then?

goldengirl Fri 26-Oct-12 21:15:11

In Australia they ban all food substances and plants into the country brought in by visitors to avoid such a problem. They're incredibly strict about it and very polite at the same time. Why the heck haven't we been doing that here? Our lot just bury their heads in the sand and jump about and act surprised when the inevitable occurs. Makes me mad

JessM Mon 29-Oct-12 18:45:24

I think it is an EU thing. Govt would have to go to some trouble to plead a special case. Ireland? Are you listening?
It has certainly been rampaging in parts of Europe.
Mind you, if it is that near, quite possible that birds could bring spores over. A lot of birds come here from n europe at this time of year, and where do they land... It is a depressing thought though - 1/3 of our woodland could disappear.

Jodi Mon 29-Oct-12 18:47:55

I've got two beautiful big ash trees at the end if my garden. I'd hate to lose them.

carboncareful Tue 30-Oct-12 14:35:30

three years

Jodi Tue 30-Oct-12 22:52:07

That's very cryptic carbon. Do you mean in three years time most of our ash trees will be gone?

absentgrana Wed 31-Oct-12 08:00:16

Jodi The government has known about this devastating fungal disease for three years. The ash trees in Denmark were being killed off at an alarming rate in 2009. For some reason, the Forestry Commission decided it was an indigenous disease and therefore banning ash imports was pointless. In fact, this country was completely clear of it. Now, they're taking action when the damage has begun.

Bags Wed 31-Oct-12 08:56:46

'Experts' getting it wrong again hmm. But if the fungal disease can be spread by birds or the spores can be airborne, what could the government have done anyway? Banning imports of ash trees might have slowed down the pace of the spread, but I wonder if it would really have prevented it spreading in the slightly longer term.

Of course, it's just an indication of how wacky our society can sometimes be when importing native trees is cheaper than just growing them from our own seed. When I have thoughts like that, I'm really glad that I'm an optimist.

jeni Wed 31-Oct-12 09:46:21

You are?confused

jeni Wed 31-Oct-12 09:46:46


gracesmum Wed 31-Oct-12 09:49:16

stable doors
re-arrange these words to make a well known saying.
If it weren't so potentially calamitous (cf foot and mouth - similar strategy) it would be laughable.angry
DEFRA need culling

Oldgreymare Wed 31-Oct-12 09:54:47

Gracesmum brilliant!

gracesmum Wed 31-Oct-12 10:58:05

Meant to add -it's DEFRA who need culling, not badgers.

JessM Wed 31-Oct-12 18:15:16

Quite gracesmum - I am not sure if it can be spread by birds. But they do fly in in large numbers from N Europe. And land in trees. But that is outside DEFRA's control.
Trees don't have immune systems like we do. You cannot develop a vaccine for a tree. sad

carboncareful Fri 02-Nov-12 12:31:31

George Monbiot's letter to Caroline Spelman (sec of state ffor the environment 2010 to 2012) about nothing having been done about Ash tree importation.

jO5 Fri 02-Nov-12 12:38:40

Said on Farming Today the radio this morning that if you walk in a woodland you should wait 24 hours before you go to another one, and make sure your boots are scrubbed off and dry.

JessM Fri 02-Nov-12 20:01:23

Most of the country is currently covered in fallen ash leaves. Will boot washing really make a difference?

jO5 Fri 02-Nov-12 20:02:36

That's what the man said! hmm

How do I know?! hmm

jO5 Fri 02-Nov-12 20:03:03

Oops. Forgot! wink


carboncareful Sat 03-Nov-12 10:37:13

Did you know that they have NOT banned import of Ash trees full stop. They have only banned import of Ash trees from areas that have (admitted to) having the disease.
So, if they want to import ash trees all they have to do is get them from an area that has not been officially declared as having the disease. Easy peazy!