Ash Die Back or Hymenoscyphus Fraxineus

Most people are familiar with Ash trees they make up between 12% and 16% of all tree coverage in the United Kingdom. Ash trees are a naturalised species originating in main land Europe and making there way in to the United Kingdom during the last ice age. 


Currently we are in the midst of a fungal pandemic, Ash die back or Hymenoscyphus fraxineus in Latin, was first officially recorded in southern England in 2012. But it’s probable that it’s been around since the early 2000’s. It’s believed  to have been introduced by infected Ash saplings imported from Europe but it is also quite possible that the fungal spores traveled in the wind to our shores. It is hard to be precise on the full extent of this fungal disease but experts believe that we could loose around 80% of all opAsh trees, an incredibly worrying prediction!


Broadleaf Tree Surgery LTD are very aware of the symptoms and signs shown in the early stages of the disease, and our experts can advise on the best course of action to reduce the risk of failure and decrease the chances of the disease spreading further. It is crucial that you do not delay making contact with an expert. Ash die back affects the trees heart wood as well as the cambium layer and as a result the tree can become brittle and almost impossible in some cases to safely climb and dismantle. The longer you leave it the more likely you are to increase the cost of the works.

Is there hope on the horizon?

We are in the early stages of the pandemic and the full scale of the diseases effect are yet to be fully understood. Scientists have found that some trees are tolerant to Ash die back. This could mean that we might see Ash trees making a comeback as the tolerant trees produce more offspring. This is likely to take many decades though. And is also dependent on several separate factors including the volume of fungal spores in the atmosphere and the genetics of the tolerant trees. 

So what should you be looking for as a homeowner or land owner?....

These are just some of the symptoms and signs that your Ash tree might have Ash die back.

  • Leaves with dark patches during the summer months.
  • Tip die back in mid summer usually to the next growth point.
  • Wilting leaves and early leaf drop.
  • Epicormic growth from beneath the canopy I.E dormant buds are activated. This is a common sign of stress in trees. 
  • Lesions on the bark. Typically dark brown in colour and forming on side laterals.

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