Authors seek help in finding a venerable ash tree

posted on December 19, 2012

Reblogged from The New Sylva


The authors of The New Sylva are searching for the finest example of a common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) tree to feature in the book. They hope that our readers can help by submitting their favourite ash trees – one of which will be selected and appear in the book frontispiece.

Following the outbreak of ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea), the chapter on Ash in The New Sylva has been rewritten (see post). Reflecting on the likely impact of the pathogen on ash trees in Britain, the authors are keen to feature a majestic British ash tree in one of the most prominent positions in the book; the frontispiece. There are many known venerable and notable ash trees in the country, and surely many more lesser-known trees.

Can you propose a candidate ash tree? It could be especially grand or noble, simply have a beautiful and graceful form, have its own fascinating history, or be very ancient. It may be just your favourite ash tree.

The tree selected will be visited by the authors some time in the next three months. It will feature as a full page drawing made by Sylva’s Artist-in-Residence Sarah Simblet.

Full acknowledgement of any assistance will be provided in The New Sylva.

Read more about The New Sylva
on the author’s blog at

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Asian Longhorn beetle outbreak in Kent

posted on April 20, 2012
Asian longhorn leaflet

Asian longhorn beetle leaflet

Forest Research and the Food & Environment Research Agency (Fera) are working to eradicate a breeding population of Asian longhorn beetle found in the Paddock Wood area of Maidstone in Kent.

The Asian longhorn beetle, native to China, poses a serious threat to a wide range of broadleaved trees. It has caused extensive damage to trees in the USA and Italy since being accidentally introduced there in recent years.

The existence of this population was confirmed first by Forest Research scientists in March.Today it was confirmed the larvae (grubs) of Asian longhorn beetle were found on 22 trees in the area and five more are considered highly likely to be infested. The infestation zone (i.e. the area within a 100m radius of each infested tree) currently covers about 8 hectares (20 acres or 80,000m2).

Asian longhorn beetles can infest a wide range of broadleaved trees and shrubs. The larvae feed undetected on the inside of the host tree or shrub, which could kill it or leave it weakened and susceptible to further pest and disease damage. Although the larvae are unlikely to emerge as adult beetles before the end of June in the UK, it is important that we remove all infested and potentially infested trees as early as possible before then. They would be a serious threat to UK woodland if they became established.

Find out more on the Forestry Commission’s webpage on the Asian Longhorn beetle. Please note that Fera must be notified of sightings of beetles or other evidence of infestation by ALB, such as exit holes in the trunk of host plants. There is a legal obligation to report the beetle or suspicious signs included in the Plant Health (England) Order 2005 and the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005.

Read more about our work to combat tree pests and diseases at

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Chestnut blight in Britain

posted on March 22, 2012

Chestnut blight, caused by the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica (C. parasitica), has been confirmed in Britain for the first time by scientists from Forest Research. The blight was found on young trees in two small orchards of European sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) in Warwickshire and East Sussex.

The fungus infection is usually fatal to European sweet chestnut and its North American relative, Castanea dentata, although it appears to be less virulent in Europe than it is in America. It is believed to have first originated in Eastern Asia before being introduced to North America in the late 19th Century, where it has since devastated billions of trees in the East of the country (see The American Chestnut Foundation). It was first identified in Europe in 1938, in Italy, and has since spread to most parts of southern Europe where sweet chestnut is grown, and to parts of northern Europe.

Identifying chestnut blight

The most obvious symptoms of chestnut blight are wilting and die-back of tree shoots. Young trees with this infection normally die back to the root collar, and might re-sprout before becoming re-infected. Other symptoms, such as stem cankers and the presence of fruiting bodies can also occur.

Read more about the fungus and find out how to report a possible occurence of chestnut blight on the Forestry Commission’s webpage for Chestnut Blight

Read more about our work to combat tree pests and diseases at




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