Unfortunately this year I am hoping some of the wood I am cutting will not grow back, unlike most of my coppicing. I have decided that the dieback I am getting on the ash trees is actually Chalera, and have reported it to to the treealert forestry research site.
Up until last year I had not noticed green leaves dying back, and the dieback was not generally associated with nodes. I suspect that these specific parts of the symptoms are associated with more mature trees, rather than young saplings. None of my trees is taller than about 8 feet or more than 6cm in diameter. Previously I was just noticing dieback of new shoots, I noticed some symptoms as far back as 2012. But many of my young trees die back as a result of salt winds in winter on new growth, Hazel and Oak for example, so I wasn’t sure whether to be too concerned.
Last summer I noticed several trees where some new green growth had wilted, just fading away rather than turning colour like they do in autumn. In addition, I could see some marking spreading from the branch nodes like the pictures show on the ash dieback pictures. I have not really seen this before.
I don’t know whether the symptoms I have seen before were ash dieback, or whether it has just arrived this year. Anyway, rather than just interplanting the ash with different trees as discussed before, I decided to try and remove the ash completely. I have therefore cut the trunks right down as near to the round as possible. This involved lifting up the vole guard, removing the grass to expose the trunk and cutting as close to the earth as possible. The picture below shows the bottle vole guards catching the light showing the tree I’ve cleared around.
I am hoping that by leaving off the vole guards, that the little critters will eat any regrowth from the ash, although I suspect they may grow back a bit since some have been in more than 10 years now. Hopefully I will not need to dig out the roots as well.
Although the trunks are generally quite small (and many diseased), there are a few that may be big enough to be useful as tool handles. I need a new rake handle as my best one was broken over the winter. The rest of the ash will only be useful as kindling, but I think it best to burn it as soon as possible, rather than leave it to compost as I would otherwise do.
I’ve still got just a few ash to take out: one or two that I’ve spotted which I missed the first time round, and a dozen or so right at the top, that were local provenance, but also don’t look good. We’ve had a bit of snow this week, so I’ll wait till that thaws before finishing off.
On a more positive note, I potted up another ten monkey puzzle seeds at the weekend. Also my plants from ART have come. I have decided where to plant my four hazelnut trees, and there are three blueberry bushes to plant too. Also my Xmas present from my super younger sisters has come, at least the plants I bought with the Edulis nursery voucher have. I therefore have plenty to do outside once the weather allows.
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