Simon's recent photo of tree. Rot in the main stem can also mean that the tree doesn’t extensive die-back
Simon’s recent photo of tree. Rot in the main stem can also mean that the tree doesn’t extensive die-back

In Cornwall we are seeing the affects of ash dieback disease on a landscape scale. Infection appears to be worst in young and semi-mature trees but many older trees are now also suffering. They have been showing signs of infection for 2 – 3 years but they are now rapidly declining with dead or partly dead crowns.

Dieback may be exacerbated by the drought which has put all trees under increased stress but there are now many dangerous trees standing close to paths, roads and buildings. Diseased ash trees are not easy to deal with, as the vibration from a saw cutting at the base of the stem can cause dead branches to fall onto the saw operator. No doubt this winter many people will be looking for a bit more firewood to reduce their heating bills but take care if you are tempted to take down a dead or dying ash fall in the expected direction, so please contact a qualified tree surgeon with good insurance.

At Stara we are trying to leave ash trees where they are not close to paths, so they can die and decompose where they stand, only felling those that are a potential danger to visitors to the woods. This creates an excellent temporary habitat for a wide range of insects which live on the dead and decaying timber. These in turn get eaten by bats and birds high in the woodland canopy, safely out of the reach of foxes and other predators on the woodland floor.

That’s all for now. Hope you’ve appreciated the cooler shade of the woods during this very hot spell of weather, and that by the time you read this that we’ll have had some cooler, wetter weather. We really do need the rain, farmers, foresters and gardeners alike!