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Ash Dieback disease - your questions answered

What is the Disease that is affecting ash trees?

Chalara dieback of ash is a serious disease of ash trees caused by the fungus Chalara Fraxinea. The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees and it can lead to tree death.

Currently the advice is that mature trees should not be removed, as they are valuable to wildlife, take longer to die and can help us learn more about genetic strains that might be resistant to the disease. Infection does not occur directly from tree to tree.

How does the disease spread?

The disease can be spread from spores from the fungi attached to leaves and leaf litter, spores can also be spread by wind and rain.

What is Southwark Council doing to address the problem?

Southwark Council's Tree Team will be putting together a programme to survey all of the ash trees within the borough in the new year. Over the winter period we will be looking at our population of ash trees and their locations.

We will also be undertaking a survey of all newly planted ash trees over the last 3 years to determine whether these trees have the symptoms of ash die back. If so the respective young trees will need to be removed (as per Forestry Commission advice).

Southwark Council will keep up to date with the latest on Chalara and will work within the recommendations for management stipulated by the Forestry Commission and DEFRA (Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs).

What can I do to help?

The latest advice from the Forestry Commission is to ensure that the disease is not spread to other areas by ensuring that when leaving parks and woodlands and before visiting other places that mud and leaves from footwear, pushchairs, bikes, cars, dogs and horses is removed and that leaves and branches are not removed from the woodland or park.

Are there any reported confirmed cases within Southwark?

As of the 12 November there has been no verified infection of Chalara in greater London or Southwark, However outbreaks have been found in Counties around the Capital.

What should I do if I suspect that a tree may be infected?

If you suspect a tree may be infected, please report the sighting to the Tree Team on 020 7525 0511 and we will investigate.

Further information

The Forestry Commission provide several resources on their website.

You can also visit the following Forestry Commission web pages;

Guide to symptoms

Further advice




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Southwark Council
PO BOX 64529
London SE1P 5LX

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