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Ash tree dieback

(Chalara fraxinea)

What is it?

Ash dieback or Chalara fraxinea is a serious disease of Ash trees caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea that causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees and usually leads to tree death. Ash trees suffering with Chalara dieback have been found widely across Europe since it was first reported as a newly identified pathogen in Poland in 1992. These have included forest trees, trees in urban areas such as parks and gardens, and also young trees in nurseries.

Where is it?

Medway Council has recently identified Chalara at Ranscombe Farm Reserve and this has  been confirmed by experts at the Forestry Commission. This is the first confirmed report of Chalara in the Medway area. Medway Council will be erecting signs warning the public and recommends that the public disinfect shoes, boots and other equipment if possible after walking or cycling in this area as this may help reduce the spread the dispersal of fungal spores. The overall spread of Chalara across the UK is being monitored by the Forestry Commission whilst Tree officers at Medway Council are continuing to monitor at a local level.

What should I do?

At this time the advice from the Forestry Commission is to monitor for signs of the disease and report any newly infected trees to them. Medway Council has carried out a survey of its trees and the findings have been recorded and reported. The public should monitor their trees and if they suspect the disease is present they should contact Medway Council or the Forestry Commission and give information about the location and number of trees affected.

Should I report it?

The website includes a map showing sites where the disease has been found, a video on symptoms - which you can also view below - and other useful guidance.

Reporting suspected cases

If you think you have spotted the disease please check the video above and the Ash Dieback Disease pictorial symptom guide before reporting it.

You can report it by:

  • phoning the Chalara helpline: 08459 33 55 77 (open 8am to 6pm every day)
  • emailing plant.health@forestry.gsi.gov.uk
  • contacting Medway Council's tree team on 01634 333333.

The Forestry Commission is the leading authority on this disease and the source of the most up-to-date information and advice.

The public must take care if approached by rogue traders trying to cash in on the outbreak of Ash dieback.

  • You do not have to fell an Ash tree unless specifically instructed by the Forestry Commission or if the trees have become unsafe
  • You must not move wood or cuttings from ash trees from their original site; any infected cuttings must be burnt
  • You must not plant Ash trees at this time. If you are planning to plant Ash trees, you should contact your supplier for an alternative species. These restrictions will remain in place until the Forestry Commission revokes them.