Denbighshire County Council is prioritising the management of ash dieback across the county this winter.
Ash dieback, a highly destructive disease of trees in the genus known as Fraxinus is spreading throughout North Wales.
The native ash tree (Fraxinus excelsior) of the UK is particularly common across Denbighshire’s landscape. Unfortunately, many of these trees have been struck by the fungus named Hymenoscyphus fraxineus which causes ash dieback.
Chalara is another name associated with ash dieback as the fungus was previously named Chalara fraxinea. There is no known cure or method for preventing the transmission of this airborne fungus therefore alternative approaches are needed to deal with its impact.
As the common name of ash dieback suggests, infected trees typically die back. Physical symptoms result in the form of wilting leaves and bark lesions.
Mortality of ash trees following infection can be incredibly high. However, it has been recognised that some trees appear tolerant of the disease and research is underway to hopefully discover ash trees which are resistant to ash dieback.
Cllr Barry Mellor, Lead Member for Environment and Transport, said: “Our initial focus has been surveying ash trees in areas where diseased trees could potentially pose a risk to people.
“We have mapped ash trees across the busiest parts of the highway network and classified the trees according to their condition during the summers of 2021 and 2022. Risk assessments have also been carried out to ensure that we use our resources wisely and only remove trees that could ultimately cause harm or damage.”
During the coming winter work will begin on Council owned land to fell or reduce ash trees were deemed necessary. The work will be carried out by experienced contractors with appropriate machinery to ensure the health and safety of all parties involved.
Ash dieback can result in brittle and unpredictable wood therefore employment of a professional arborist is recommended.
The Council is working closely with various stakeholders to protect Denbighshire residents and visitors as well as the species and habitats associated with ash trees.
There will also inevitably be ash trees on private land adjacent to the highway that require works. In this instance the Council will notify landowners through the issue of a notice pursuant to Section 154 of the Highways Act 1980. This is part of the Council’s legal duty to keep roads safe for motorists and other users.
As this necessary felling programme progresses the Council will plant more trees, of alternative species, in suitable locations to reduce the impact on the landscape and biodiversity.
For further information please visit the Council’s website on the following link: https://www.denbighshire.gov.uk/en/environmental-health/trees-hedges-and-grass/ash-dieback/ash-dieback.aspx