What is Ash Dieback?
Ash Dieback disease is a fungal disease which originated in Asia. It is now present all over the UK and is killing native European ash trees in significant numbers. It is thought that the disease has been present in the UK for over twenty years and is spread easily through wind blown spores. You can spot Ash Dieback in the summer months as leaves blacken and curl up, and the bark on the tree discolours.
Ash Dieback in Crewkerne
Inevitably Ash Dieback disease is now present in ash trees in all our open spaces in Crewkerne. The grounds team and our contractors have kept a close eye on its spread and in 2022 Crewkerne Town Council commissioned a report from a professional independent arborist to give an up to date picture of the situation and make recommendations on how to tackle this.
The report from the arborist has identified a large number of trees in Crewkerne with the disease, and categorised them into priority levels, starting with those needing remedial works which include removal this winter. The two sites most affected will be Townsend Cemetery, where a stretch of ash trees border the A30 and Bincombe Beeches Nature Reserve, which is home to a large number of ash trees.
The Town Council will apply for permission from the Planning Authority for the removal of affected ash trees as identified in the report, and will be guided by any comments or recommendations made by the Tree Officer. Ultimately, as we have seen in the news recently, trees which are not looked after correctly can be dangerous with tragic outcomes.
The Town Council is going to adopt a replanting strategy to ensure that trees lost to Ash Dieback are replaced by native trees, choosing species which mirror the functions of ashes in the ecosystem, such as oak, rowan, birch and aspen. We hope to involve the community in planting projects and help raise awareness of Ash Dieback disease and its implications. Crewkerne Town Council will continue to monitor and manage the health of the town’s tree population and improve the resilience of our tree stock with advice from our professional arborist.