Worcester residents asked to help with city’s Ash trees
A call has gone out for Worcester residents to help in identifying the city's Ash trees in a bid to help conserve those not affected by the UK-wide Ash Dieback Disease.
Ash Dieback causes leaf loss, dead branches, and eventually the death of the tree. Once infection is apparent, few trees survive longer than four years and they become increasingly dangerous as the disease progresses, with a risk of falling branches.
The disease has spread nationwide since it was first discovered in the South-East of England in 2012, and now suffering trees can be seen almost everywhere in the UK. Evidence from continental Europe suggests that the UK may lose as many as 95% of its ash trees over the next 10 years.
Advice from the Forestry Commission and Forest Research Agency is that diseased Ash trees in public spaces should be removed early once infection has been diagnosed, to protect public safety.
Worcester City Council is carrying out a survey of its Ash trees from now until October and members of the public are encouraged to join in by counting and categorising the trees in their local park, hedgerows, fields, woodlands and gardens.
This will help the Council identify those trees which will need removing, and also those which show high levels of resistance to Ash Dieback. The latter will be protected and preserved, with the hope that in the future, seeds can be collected from them and grown to restore Ash trees to the UK.
Cllr Zoe Cookson, Vice Chair of Worcester City Council's Environment Committee, said:
"In the meantime, those Ash trees which do need to be removed will be replaced with a variety of different trees to promote tree diversity, which will help lower the risk of future disease outbreaks having such a severe impact. This will build on a tree-planting programme which has already seen Worcester City Council plant hundreds of new tree whips and saplings across the city."
Worcester City Council's Tree Officer Harry Simms is organising two nature walks where members of the public can find out more about how to identify an Ash tree and how to categorise its condition. Anyone interested can just turn up on the day.
The first is at 2pm on Thursday 24 August, meeting at the newly-planted fruit trees on Cole's Meadow off Solitaire Avenue.
The second will be on Saturday 26 August at 2pm, meeting by Woodgreen Church. This walk will be wheelchair-friendly.