Ash dieback?

I was rather worried when I saw this damage this week.  Many of my ash trees are showing blackened leaves.  Particularly towards the bottom of the trees.  Some are fine however with fresh green leaves and unbroken buds, although some dieback over winter means that some of the buds are dead.  I thought this was chalera dieback for sure and was envisaging having to dig out and burn all my ash tree saplings.

ash trees
blackened leaves on several ash trees

I was glad then to see similar damage on other trees – first wych elm, then oak and sweet chestnut.  Not perhaps so many, but similar scorched new growth.

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My conclusion is that we have actually suffered a light frost that has damaged the new growth on some of the trees.  Up by the house we don’t seem to have been affected and nothing in the polytunnel seems to have been damaged.  The weather recently has been cool and fairly clear – dry with a north east wind.  I hadn’t realised it had been quite so cold as it obviously has been.

Fresh spring leaves (f – b larch, willow, alder, beech)

The fresh young growth of the trees is beautiful at the moment.  The translucent leaves catch the light glowing vibrant shades of light green.  The larch in particular are lovely with soft fountains of bristles from the branches.  Many of the evergreen trees show a contrast in colour between the old and new growth.  The new holm oak leaves are a pinky cream colour, and the spruce tips lime green against the british racing green of the older leaves.  Actually the spruce are looking a bit sparce as they shed their older needles before regrowing new needles later.

14 thoughts on “Frostbite

  1. Nancy we are over at Ose and have had low temperatures this last week, -2 a few days ago and -3 last night. We didn’t have any damage to any saplings but as the frost rolls down a hillside maybe that is why yours were affected.

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    1. it is quite interesting how some trees are affected and others fine. Two cherries are happy with blossoms setting nicely and the one in between is totally scorched!


    1. I think I am right about the frost, I just checked our trees that looked OK from inside! Mature Ash, Oak and Beech totally frosted, The Ash trees are 20 foot high and totally black. Never seen this at this time of year before, a lot of other damage too. Must have been an air frost and -3 is quite severe for here. I have also noticed that the sky is an amazing Prussian blue colour around 4.30 am, really intense and not a normal sky colour, never seen that before either. Carole.

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  2. The black leaves do look alarming. I had been concerned about my raspberry cane but now I wonder as we have had a little frost here, too. Anyway, let’s hope that the ash are not infected with ash dieback – it would be a heart-breaking job to have to replace them.

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    1. I have spent the afternoon in the garden and I am absolutely amazed at the frost damage, things I have never seen frosted before. Hoping tonight won’t be as cold, at least it’s the last of the cold ones. 1st time I have ever put a heater in the greenhouse and so glad I did, just using fleece wouldn’t have cut it. Carole.

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      1. I think that the warmer weather we had earlier in the year brought on the fresh growth and the trees are now paying for it. Should be warmer from Monday.


    2. I’m sort of resigned to that likelihood anyhow. I’m just hoping it is later rather than sooner. I am going to start interplanting the ash with other species in preparation anyhow in the next year or so. I have been disappointed with their performance so far.


  3. Nancy I was up very early Friday morning, before sun rise, as the sun came up the heather at the back of my house sparkled and then I could see the frost, it looks so pretty, yet can be deadly, I was in town yesterday but today (Saturday) I’ve been in the garden and have seen evidence of frost damage on quite a lot of plants,

    I didn’t know spruce sheds its old leaves before growing new, I’ve always blamed the wind for the shedding of the needles, oophs!

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  4. We had frost here last week and I was so afraid it would damage our cherry tree which is just about to flower, but everything looks fine–I’m hoping for a great crop this year based on the number of buds!

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