Recently we attended an emergency callout to Shillinglee Fisheries on the outskirts of Haslemere. An Ash tree that had been reduced the previous year had continued to decline due to a combination of die back (Chalara fraxinea) and poor ground conditions being located on the bank of the lake.
The main concern was safety for the public, being located beneath two swims. Furthermore, due to limited access, if the tree were to fail and fall in the lake, removal would be unlikely. As with most things, preventative measures are often more cost effective than reactive actions.
How to identify Ash dieback?
Ash dieback is identified by three main symptoms.
- Dead tops and/ or side shoots at the base of dead side shoots, lesions can often be found on the subtending branch or stem.
- Lesions which girdle the branch or stem can cause wilting of the foliage above.
- Mature trees affected by the disease initially display dieback of the shoots and twigs at the periphery of their crowns. Dense clumps of foliage may be seen further back on branches where recovery shoots are produced in the crown of the tree. The new shoots are killed by the pathogen and appear as leafless branches protruding from the canopy.
More information on Ash dieback along with a visual identification guide can be found here (courtesy of Forest Research).
Tree safely dismantled
With significant heave, cracking at the base and the potential threat the decision was made to remove the tree and turn the stump into a table and replant a more suitable species to replace. Due to limited access, we were unable to get any large-scale lifting equipment to assist with removal so everything would have to be rigged down safely to avoid damaging the bank. Thankfully, we did manage to get the smaller woodchipper down with the use of the quadbike, otherwise all the brash would have to of been dragged some 100 meters up to the carpark!
The job was an absolute breeze. We employed various rigging techniques to avoid anything landing in the lake or damaging any of the shrubs underneath. All the woodchips stayed on site and were used as mulch on the swims, we moved the rest of the useable firewood up to the main house where it’ll be used for firewood. Unfortunately, we didn’t manage to get a photo post clean up, the days were still quite short, and light was running out. But as usual, we left it better than we found it.
If you’re concerned about any trees in your woodland or garden, please get in touch. All advice is offered free of charge.