Frequently asked questions

The answers below to FAQs draw upon on the combined knowledge and expertise of Forum members together with FAQs prepared by the Woodland Trust.

About Ash and Ash Dieback

What does Ash look like?

How do I recognise signs of the disease?

  • See our webpages here

Will Ash trees go extinct in the UK?

  • We don’t know. Scientists have developed techniques to identify individual trees that are less susceptible to ash dieback disease. It is hoped that this technique, combined with resistance breeding trials, can be used to grow trees that are more likely to survive the disease.

How many ash trees are there in Devon?

  • There are estimated to be at least 1.9 million full grown ash trees in Devon outside woodlands. Within woodland we have around 11,000 ha of ash stands. See our key facts.

About the effects of the disease

Will the disease affect wildlife?

Can anything be done to stop the spread of the disease?

  • There is no cure and once trees are infected with ash dieback it is usually fatal. The disease is spread through spores released from fungal bodies on fallen leaves, so collecting and burning those may help reduce repeat infections. If the disease is already in trees nearby this is unlikely to have much impact as the spores are carried in the wind.

What are public bodies and organisations in Devon doing about this?

  • Representatives from over 40 organisations have formed the Devon Ash Dieback Resilience Forum to raise awareness, provide advice and take action together.

For landowners with ash trees on their land

My ash trees are infected. What do I do next?

  • The fungus causing Chalara dieback of ash is classed as a quarantine organism so any suspected sighting should be reported. You can do this via the Forestry Commission’s Tree Alert, their online reporting tool.

What do I do with the felled timber, leaves and twigs from a diseased tree in my garden?

  • There is no restriction on the movement of felled ash. However, you can slow the local spread of the disease by  collecting up and burning (where permitted), burying or deep composting fallen ash leaves and other material on site. This disrupts the fungus’s life cycle. See the Forestry Commission’s Research pages for more information. Please do not put infected leaves and twigs in green waste bins for composting by your local authority, as this risks spreading the disease.

I have trees on my land that overhang a public right of way. What should I be doing?

I have ash trees in hedgerows on my land. Do I need to get them all surveyed?

Whose responsibility is it to fell diseased ash trees along a highway?

  • It is the landowner’s responsibility to deal with trees on his or her land.

When should I fell diseased trees?

Am I liable if a diseased tree on my land falls onto a highway and causes damage or injury to third parties?

  • Yes.

Do I need to get a felling licence if I have diseased ash trees on my land adjacent to a highway or other high risk area?

  • Yes, if you are the landowner. However, trees classed as ‘dangerous’ are exempt from requiring a felling licence- see Forestry Commission guidance
    and you should plan to take urgent action to remove the risk. Where a licence is required, you are advised to plan well ahead and apply for a felling licence without delay- the felling licence may take time to process, and you will need to apply for a road closure to safely fell the trees. A felling licence is valid for 5 years so you may wish to apply for a clear fell of highway ash trees that include both diseased and adjacent trees that realistically are likely to succumb to the disease in that time period. The need for costly and disruptive road closures should be minimised as far as possible.

About replanting

Can I buy uninfected ash saplings for replanting?

  • No – There is a ban on the import of ash plants and seeds into the UK and there is now a legal ban on the sale and movement of ash trees for planting within the UK.

What trees would be best to choose instead of Ash?

About celebrating Ash trees

How can we make sure future generations know how Ash trees benefitted our lives and landscapes?

  • Please respond to our call for action on recording ash trees in Devon’s landscapes.