Ash dieback sparks crisis at Hills charity - The Worcester Observer

Ash dieback sparks crisis at Hills charity

Worcester Editorial 23rd Nov, 2023   0

ALARM bells have been sounded by Malvern Hills Trust which has warned of the ‘significant’ impacts of a disease severely infecting several ash trees and placing ‘huge financial pressures’ on the charity.

Devastated Trust chiefs have been forced to schedule the felling of ash trees on British Camp, Jubilee Drive and Holywell Road this winter due to the ash dieback disease.

The Trust has now issued a plea for donations to help combat the ‘significant’ impacts of the disease.

Ash dieback, which was first identified in the UK in 2012, has spread across the country and causes the wilting of leaves, shoots to die back and often the death of the tree.

The Trust has also asked people to report ash trees on its land which are badly affected and are near to highways or properties.

It is believed a small percentage of ash trees may be tolerant to the disease, with those showing little or no signs of disease set to be left and monitored.

However, the Trust claims it is not possible to eradicate the disease as it is caused by an airborne fungus which cannot be controlled.

This is the second year in a row the Trust has had to deal with the most badly infected trees for public safety.

The Trust’s conservation manager Jonathan Bills said: “We are devastated to be losing any ash trees from our estate.

“Infected trees can become brittle and likely to fail, so the removal of trees near to highways and properties is essential.”

He added the impact of ash dieback was going to be significant in the Malvern Hills.

“In the next decade, it is estimated between 60-80 per cent of the UK’s ash will be lost to the disease.

“It is estimated 20 per cent of trees under the Trust’s care are ash.

“The loss of this species will have a significant effect on both the local landscape character and the ecology of the area.

“The Trust will be planting replacement trees where possible and allowing nature to replace trees through natural regeneration.

“We are facing huge financial pressures as the disease takes hold and more practical management is needed in response.”

He added to safely remove the trees could cost the Trust around £400 each.

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