Disease wiping out ash trees
The owner of a country estate is warning that the spread of a disease affecting ash trees could destroy swathes of the English landscape.
Edward Barham, of Hole Park Estate, Rolvenden, says that Chalara, or ash dieback, is ravaging his trees and that the deadly fungus that causes leaf loss, crown dieback and lesions in the bark, also threatens insect life.
Mr Barham said: “Ash dieback is so prevalent that I haven’t even had a visit from the Forestry Commission to confirm the outbreak on the estate. They know that the disease is widespread across the Weald and all over the country.
“Spores have been blown across the English Channel from Europe and are killing trees in east Kent.
“I’m horrified at how many of my ash trees have been affected and the number is really noticeable.”
He added: “A huge amount of wildlife from moths and butterflies to birds are dependent on ash trees and could perish without them.”
The landowner says he is planning to fell the diseased trees, some of which may grow back again from the stem but he says that the county could be facing a loss equivalent to the spread of Dutch elm disease in the 1970s, which wiped out millions of trees.