What is Ash Dieback Disease?
Ash dieback disease has arrived at Wapley Bushes, and we need to carry out major tree works. Ash dieback is a fungus that came from Asia, crossed Europe and is now sweeping the UK. It kills around 95% of affected ash trees.
There is no cure for ash dieback disease. The best remedy is replanting with other native species. These will keep the right habitat for birds, woodland creatures, insects, fungi and other plants. The disease particularly affects Wapley Bushes because most of the tallest trees in the Ancient Woodland are ash.
Professional surveys have identified the affected trees. There is no imminent danger, but we had to make safe the infected trees that are near the main paths. In late 2020 around 25 major ash trees were reduced in height. Most were “monolithed” to 6 metres high. They will still provide habitat for insects, birds etc while they gradually decay. However a few needed to be taken down much lower.
Most of the Centenary Wood, the plantation next to the Upper Meadow, was semi-mature ash trees, which had to be felled. Over the two winters 2021-2022 and 2022-2023 we are replacing them with different native species, leaving some clearings and paths. The trees that are not ash will be kept.
Help us plant replacement trees
Around the Ancient Woodland, Wapley Bushes Conservation Group have already planted hundreds of young replacement trees of other species over the last three years.
We are now looking for volunteers and community groups to join us replanting the Centenary Wood. The aim is to plant 250 or more trees in total during the winters of 2021-2022 and 2022-2023.
Over 5 years we will have planted as many trees as we needed to cut down. This will preserve the woodland and its flora and fauna for our children’s future. A 3 year old resident, hearing that the trees were poorly, said “We’ll have to plant some more trees then!”
Could you or your group help with the replanting? Do you have questions about ash dieback?