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A free guide to dealing with ash tree dieback has been published this month (August) by one of the UK’s largest environmental planning and forestry consultancies.

Lockhart Garratt prepared the guide Sunset for Ash Trees?  to help landowners, farmers and anyone with responsibility for managing and maintaining locations where ash trees grow.  The guide includes sections on what ash dieback is and how it spreads, as well as looking at the impact of the disease, how it can best be managed and what a tree owner’s specific responsibilities are.

Chalara ash dieback arrived from Europe in 2012, although it is thought to have been present in the UK for around 15 years. The disease is similar to Dutch Elm Disease (DED) in that it blocks the water transport systems in trees causing leaf loss, lesions in the wood and on the bark and ultimately, the dieback of the crown of the tree. However, unlike DED that is spread by beetles, ash dieback is spread through the air by the distribution of fungal spores from the central leaf stalks of fallen leaves from the previous year

Lockhart Garratt’s Senior Arboricultural Consultant and author of the guide Andy Poynter explained the reason for its publication.

“Ash dieback is now a commonly known disease in the UK but that doesn’t make its impact any less serious,” he commented. “We need to learn from the experience of mainland Europe where the disease has been present since 1992.  This suggests that the majority of ash trees will decline or die over the next 10-15 years, which means that we have a limited time frame for action.  A balanced approach for management that endeavours to practically accommodate resistant and tolerant ash trees is imperative.”  

Lockhart Garratt has a specific process for managing ash trees as set out within the guide known as the RACER programme (Resource, Approach, Compliance, Execution and Replant). This system identifies the importance of understanding tree stock and determining the objectives for that stock, as well as good management, coordinating operations with legislation, undertaking arboricultural and/or forestry works and planning replacement planting.

The publication of the guide comes at a time when the arboriculture and forestry teams at Lockhart Garratt are also looking to expand to meet rising demand. The company currently has vacancies for an arboricultural consultant and assistant aboricultural consultant to increase the team’s capacity.

“Requirement for the services and expert advice that we provide around trees, ecology, woodland, forestry, landscape planning and design and green infrastructure has grown as people increasingly recognise the commercial and environmental importance of forests, trees and woodland,” said John Lockhart, Chairman of Lockhart Garratt. “Problems like ash dieback need to be addressed and managed properly now, which is why we have produced this free resource.”

To download a free copy of Lockhart Garratt’s guide to Ash dieback click here.

In addition to the new guide Lockhart Garratt have set up a web page dedicated to Ash dieback.  This page will be kept up to date with the latest guidance and legislation as and when released.


Position Statement

Lockhart Garratt’s position on the future of ash in the UK is that these trees have an important role to play in both the rural and urban environments. We advise our clients to take a balanced approach to the management of these assets in relation to the threat of ash dieback.

It is important that we continue to recognise the silvicultural and commercial imperative of proactively managing woodlands but also recognise the significant benefits across our landscapes and ecosystems that ash trees provide.  Pragmatic management can minimise risks while seeking to maintain the presence of those heritably tolerant trees into the future.

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