Ash dieback edges closer to Harrogate.

Ash trees on Beech Hill Avenue
Ash trees on Beech Hill Avenue

CASES of Chalara ash dieback have spread to North Yorkshire, three of which are within 20 miles of Harrogate.

There are now 115 confirmed cases of the disease in the UK, 10 locations have been identified across Yorkshire,and gardeners in the Harrogate area are monitoring the situation.

Chalara dieback is a serious disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Chalara fraxinea, which causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees and can lead to tree death.

In October a small number of cases were reported to the Forestry Commission and further cases have been reported since the start of November.

A spokesman for the Forestry Commission, Becci Turner, said: “Around 500 people have been monitoring the situation for the last two weeks. It is an ongoing problem and as much as can be done is being done.”

DEFRA confirmed that the scale of the survey of Britain’s woodland is unprecedented.

Due to their size ash trees are not commonly found in private gardens. Fiona Burks, manager of Brookside Nursery on Leeds Road, Harrogate said: “We have very little in the way of ash trees round here, we don’t sell them. We haven’t sold any in about five years so we don’t have any in stock at the moment. They tend to be more common in rural areas.

“We have had a few customers asking though usually just in passing and we are keeping an eye on things.”

Elizabeth Balmforth, curator and acting head of site at RHS Garden Harlow Carr, said: “At present Harlow Carr has not been affected by the fungus Chalara Fraxinus. Results on a recent survey of our 40 semi mature and mature ash trees have not given any indication of the disease.

“The fungus has a limited period during the year when it is infectious, which is from June to October, and younger trees and saplings are most at risk. We will be keeping a very close eye on our specimens during this time, at present leaf litter from our ash trees is being burnt to limit any potential spread from the disease.”

Spokesman for RHS Garden Harlow Carr, Courtney Conroy added: “Visiting Harlow Carr has not been affected in any way.”

Gardeners and woodland visitors are being advised to be vigilant and report any sightings to the forestry commission on 08459 33 55 77.