img-observatree   img-itvcentral-221x145  img-nrw1  img-fc1   Woodland Trust Project              Central News Nov 2012      Natural Resources Wales            Forestry Commission


Brief Background

The plant disease known as Chalara or Ash Die back. (Chalara fraxinea) has most probably been present in the UK since the mid- to late 1990's. That is, according to some of the UK's most respected scientists including Professor Oliver Rackham.

However, the general public including myself, were only aleted to its presence from around March to July to Autumn 2012 when it appeared in the mainstream press. A total ban on ash tree imports followed soon imposed by Secretary of State for the Environment (and my local MP) Owen Paterson. In fact the ban came in on the day of our first chat by phone.

What to look for...


Sporal stage showing very small white 'mushrooms'   Older scaring on ash trunk              Above, wilting of foilage 
on rachis or petiole. (On floor in leaf ltter).                                                                         Below, browning of ash 'whitewood'


                                                   Forest Research scientist Dr Joan Webber explaining the Life Cycle of Chalara


img-chalaracrown  img-ferayork-400x250

Typical Crown Die Back of Ash...  MORE PHOTOS  >                  DNA work in the lab...  MORE PHOTOS  >
Photos taken Bydgoszcz Poland summer 2013.  


Responses to Chalara (and tree diseases in general)

The Woodland Trust is one organisation among many to respond positively to this threat to our native UK trees. They have launched a 'Citizen Scientist' project called ObservaTREE. This project it hopes will enable many benefits to come form having some of its volunteers including myself, scouring the countryside looking for any tell tale signs READ MORE  > of Chalara. Harnessing the power and numbers of volunteers and the general public is a sensible approach to the ever increasing number of plant / tree diseases that are becoming more prevalent in the UK.

Training is being provided and I, along with others have visited Calke Abbey NT  VIEW PHOTOS  >  for initial training with the National Trust's Forestry Adviser Phil Scott and top UK scientist Dr. Joan Webber. Whislt having the training I asked Dr. Webber to explain in lay tearms to me the Chalara Life Cycle. Here she explains very nicely how the disease spreads throughout the tree... SEE VIDEO >

Woodand Trust are also growing hundreds of thousands of Ash trees in a trial to find disease resistant strains of Ash at their Pound Farm woodland in Suffolk. We visited there last year to record a BBC radio 4 interview. Pound farm is the location of the first UK case of Chalara reported.

Other organisations in the UK are also working on Chalara including Govt departments & agencies, DEFRA;  FERA; FC;   Kew Gardens; The John Innes Centre; Sainsbury Lab, Ancient Tree Forum; Tree Council; Local authorities; In Ireland Teagasc.

OpenAshDieBack crowd sourcing hub   many more organisations and group too many to mention.

Many events have now taken place throughout the country. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) held an event at Welshpool in 2013. VIEW PHOTOS  >  

Sadly in Wales, the first case of Chalara in the 'wider environment' was reported May 13th 2013. in Ferryside Carmarthenshire.

More Advanced Learning of Chalara:

For a more advanced learning pathway please visit the Fraxback website by  clicking on the logo below and / or watch the very technical and informative videos from Fraxback conference below.




Below are full Length videos of the FRAXBACK event (Nov. 2013), in which the top European Scientists gave their latest findings, so it is  VERY TECHNICAL. but amazing!
If you have the need for the latest up-to-date knowledge and the time, then please do watch the online videos of the FRAXBACK conference that was held in London Nov. 2013.
either here below or on the FRAXBACK youtube channel HERE  >     .

 Living with ash dieback in continental Europe (FRAXBACK London meeting)


                                     Session 1:                                                                                              Session 2:



                                        Session 3:                                                                                  Session 4:


Chalara Latest:

From BBC website 30 January 2014:  Ash dieback: Hopes of breakthrough with new fungicide

Emerald Ash Borer. Read here the depressing scenario that could happen to our Ash trees if Chalara has not finished them off then this willREAD MORE  >

Trying to remain positive, hopefully the Tree 35 research to find resistant strains and the hard work done by all research groups may provide an answer to our prayers!

 Photo ©Wikipedia



My Blogs...

Blog of my trip to Poland

Chalara session in  Welshpool Natural Resources Wales  

Wales Wider Environment

My Photos of Chalara events...

Flickr Chalara Collection

Forestry Commission Large size map


More to come... sadly on the many Tree Diseases now present and future possible tree health issues (Emerald Ash Borer)