Search for Chalara-resistant Ash intensifies
A major project to find Chalara-resistant Ash trees has been announced by Defra.
The £1.5 million scheme, which forms part of the Chalara Management Plan published earlier this week, will see a quarter of a million young Ash trees planted in up to 25 sites.
The sites will mainly be in East Anglia as this is the area with the most cases of Chalara, and the young trees will be exposed and monitored in the search for resistance.
Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, says: “The UK is leading the way internationally on trying to identify resistant strains.
“However this is not the whole story. In tandem with this project, we are also commissioning research to investigate genetic resistance in a laboratory setting.”
Work carried out by Cambridge University so far suggests that Chalara is an airborne disease which has blown across from the continent.
However, the impact and spread of Chalara could move slowly over generations with proper management strategies in place. These include:
- Removal of young infected ash saplings.
- Continuing with the ban on movement of Ash trees.
- Continuing to monitor signs of Chalara in established woods and forests.
From April, landowners will be able to apply for grants to plant other trees in areas where they would once have planted Ash, and owners of woodland in areas with lower levels of Chalara will be able to access funding to help them remove any infected saplings and replant with alternative trees.