Having first believed to have occurred in Poland in 1992, Ash Die Back spread to the UK during 2012.
It is an airborne fungus, Hymenoscyphus Fraximeus (Ash Die Back/Chalara), which was accidentally imported on planting stock. All imports of Ash are now banned.
Ash trees on poor/thin soils are most susceptible. There is no treatment other than felling and it affects all stages of the tree from nursery stock to fully mature.
In West Sussex, nearly 21% of all broadleaved trees are ash, covering 4,968 hectares.
The disease has the potential to kill 95% of West Sussex ash trees over the next 10–20 years. This would have a major impact on the county’s landscape, the wildlife it supports and other ecosystem services that trees provide such as:
- filtering the air
- storing carbon
- reducing flooding
- providing shade
- protecting soils.
In areas of Arundel where Ash is a major species, there is only one option which is to clearfell and replant. There are a few areas which have produced natural Ash regeneration but these have all succumbed to the fungus.
The fungus weakens the tree and makes it more susceptible to other funguses, for example honey fungus. In Arundel Park large areas have declined in health rapidly and if left these areas become unsafe, particularly if next to roads or public rights of way.
The timber also devalues and so the operation for clearfelling and replanting becomes more costly. The longer these areas are left also means that they become more hazardous for the workers involved in felling and clearing them
Ash dieback works are scheduled on the Angmering Estate highway areas. Subsequent road closure times planned for the removal of the dead , dying and dangerous Ash trees adjoining the public roads are as follows:
Bury Hill – day works – 11th– 19th January 2021 with full off peak road closure; 09.30-15.00 each day (not including the weekend).
Houghton Hill – night works – 20th – 22nd January 2021.
Extensive ash dieback works are also taking place on both the Arundel Park Estate and the WWT Arundel Wetlands Estates.
National trials are on-going and an ash archive has been set up in Hampshire, which has discovered that there are no commercially available ADB ash as of yet.
Arundel Town Council will endeavour to ensure that all trees lost in other than Estate Lands are replaced with appropriate species where possible.