Ash dieback discovered in Dorset

posted on August 22, 2013
close up of Chalara fraxinea lesion on young ash coppice stem

close up of Chalara fraxinea lesion on young ash coppice stem

In the week that AshTag relaunched to enable citizens to report both healthy and diseased ash trees Chalara fraxinea or ash dieback, was discovered in a thirteenth county in England. The latest county, Dorset, joins Cambridgeshire, Devon, East Sussex, Essex, Kent, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, Northumberland, Suffolk, Surrey, West Sussex and Yorkshire.

According to Defra the disease has now been confirmed in 557 sites including 198 locations in the wider environment. Chalara was discovered in England’s woodland last Autumn as a result of the intensive survey carried out of sites across the UK where ash trees are known to be present. It is also found in sites across Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, although most of these currently are on sites planted (unknowingly) with diseased trees in recent years.

On a recent Good Woods visit to a woodland in south east England, a new case was discovered by one of our advisors. It had previously gone unnoticed by the owner, and only came to light during the visit as a management advice was being drawn up.

Further information

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Adopt an Ash and help secure a future for ash trees in Britain

posted on November 21, 2012
Adopt an Ash on

Adopt an Ash on

The outbreak of ash dieback caused by Chalara fraxinea is a serious threat to the future survival of ash in Britain. We want volunteers to Adopt an Ash in readiness for a major survey that we will launch in late Spring 2013. This is a new TreeWatch survey that is being developed with our partners.

As one of Britain’s most common trees, the loss of up to 90% of ash trees across of our countryside and our streets, is expected to have a massive and long-lasting impact on the landscape and woodland ecology.

You can help find ‘resistant’ ash trees across the country and track the development of the disease. Your data will be shared with a consortium of forestry and horticultural experts. By adopting your ash tree now you will be ready to take part in a robust scientific survey to be launched Early Spring, by which time the disease will be easy to spot.

We recognise that there are other volunteer projects in existence, such as Ashtag, but we believe that we are well-placed to collect and share data with partners through our tried and tested TreeWatch initiative with the following unique and important objectives:

  • the main objective will be to try and identify ‘resistant’ trees that could be used in a breeding programme to secure a future for ash in Britain;
  • the Adopt an Ash tree method supports a relationship with the volunteer and allows repeat assessments to be undertaken;
  • by asking volunteers to identify and report both the presence and absence of Chalara fraxinea, we will be able to track the progress of the disease on individual trees and across the country over coming years.

For now we are asking volunteers to select trees that they will be able survey next year, and to ‘adopt’ them in the usual way at

By late Spring 2013 the disease will be easier to identify in our ash trees and we will open our survey in time to allow volunteers to report their findings. We will share tree data (note not personal data) with a consortium of leading forestry and horticultural experts.

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One thousandth tree registered on TreeWatch

posted on October 17, 2012

The one thousandth tree has been registered on the TreeWatch website, reflecting increasing interest in our citizen science initiative.

It comes the same month as the devastating new disease on ash, Chalara fraxinea or ash dieback, finally attracted the national media attention it deserved, and the same year that sweet chestnut blight and the Asian longhorn beetle were reported in the UK. These diseases and pests are added to a growing number of existing health issues affecting our trees including acute oak decline in oak, Phytopthora ramorum in larch, the oak processionary moth and more besides.

The age of the citizen scientist is certainly of the moment, as a growing army of volunteers capable of sighting and reporting tree health issues, can be a very powerful weapon in our defense of trees especially when working alongside tree professionals and scientists. This is the role of the TreeWatch initiative. As our slogan for TreeWatch reads … people power for healthy trees!

Category: TreeWatch

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TreeWatch pilot launched

posted on July 1, 2010

We are delighted to launch our latest initiative today: TreeWatch.

TreeWatch is a ‘citizen science’ project that aims, with the help of the public, to keep a watchful eye on the health of trees across Europe.  It is being launched as a pilot for 2010 in partnership with the Tree Council and Earthwatch, and in collaboration with scientists from Forest Research.


TreeWatch activities for the pilot this year are limited to looking at one tree species and one of its pests: the horse chestnut leaf miner.  We thought that by launching TreeWatch as a pilot, we can learn more about the effectiveness of the online tools and how to engage with volunteers.  Our hope is that the pilot will be a such a success that it will help us launch a full TreeWatch project in 2011.

During 2010 we will be working directly with the Tree Wardens across the UK, and with Earthwatch volunteers.  However, anyone can sign up and get involved.  If you know a horse chestnut tree, perhaps in your local park or one that you walk past everyday, why not ‘adopt’ it and put it on the map?  To find out more visit

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