Redbridge currently free of lethal ash tree disease but infection confirmed in Essex
The killer “ash dieback” disease that has wiped out millions of trees in central Europe not been found in Redbridge in the latest tests carried out by The Forestry Commission.
But the disease, caused by fungus Chalara fraxinea, was confirmed just 25 miles from Hainault Forest, near South Woodham Ferriers in Essex.
It has also been found in other parts of Essex, Kent, Sussex, Bedfordshire and around the UK in 115 sites.
There are at least 1,551 ash trees in Redbridge, excluding trees on private land, woods and Hainault Forest.
The fungus, which is lethal for trees but harmless for animals and people, can be spread by material including leaves, cuttings and chopped wood from infected trees.
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The diease starts with small spots, leading to lesions on stems and branches, leaves wilting, branches dying and the death of the top of the tree.
It can kill young trees quickly but older trees can survive for longer.
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Redbridge Council is working with the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs and other agencies to monitor the borough’s trees.
Imports of the trees have been banned and infected saplings and young trees at nurseries and planting sites are being destroyed.
In infected areas of established trees, movement restrictions are imposed so the disease cannot spread.
A Foresty Commission spokesman said landowners are issued with a notice to destroy infected trees where they are found and biological controls, such as washing people’s shoes on entering and leaving woods, could be introduced.
If you think you have spotted an infected plant, 08459 33 55 77 or email email@example.com.