This is a guest blog post, written by our colleagues at RBG Kew.
A beautiful and established feature of the European landscape, ash trees are a vital component of our ecosystem. Several species of insect and plant depend on them for survival. Tragically, over the past 10 years, ash trees have been overtaken by the disease: ‘ash dieback’. Caused by an invasive fungus, ash dieback is killing healthy trees and posing a threat to the fragile biodiversity of our planet.
However, all hope is not lost. Although their numbers are small, tolerant ash trees do exist. Identifying and studying them is the key to fighting this disease. Read on to learn how to spot an ash tree and how to tell whether it has ash dieback.
Vincent Ryan/ iStock
What are ash trees and how do you spot one?
According to Forest Research, European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) accounts for 12% of woodland in Great Britain. It is the third most common tree species in British woodlands, following the much loved English oak (Quercus rober) and Silver birch (Betula pendula).
To spot an ash tree, look out for these signs: