THE threat of ash dieback has attached additional importance to a major survey of thousands of trees owned by Stratford-on-Avon District Council, commissioned to figure out the best way to keep them intact.
The council have contracted Wharton Trees, based in Atherstone-on-Stour, to survey up to 2,000 of the council’s trees in the district’s “high-use” areas.
Although ash dieback has been found at a nursery in northern Warwickshire, the work will provide the council with a system that will prioritise care for all trees—not just ash— in danger from pests and diseases.
Peter Wharton, from Wharton Trees, said: “The outbreak of fungal disease, ash dieback, could have a devastating impact on our native species of ash, as well as a number of other ornamental species in the UK and could change our landscape forever.
“Unfortunately it would appear that we are beyond eradicating and controlling the spread of ash dieback and it is now about management of outbreaks. As tree owners and managers it is important that the signs of disease are identified at an early stage.”
The contract includes a survey mapping all trees in areas most often used by people, tree work and care recommendations, as well as aerial assessments and decay detection.
Mr Wharton told the Herald there was scope for a further survey of all the council’s trees, which would be in the thousands.
Although the council initially looked into the project in September, before the fears of ash dieback surfaced, in recent weeks the awareness of trees, pests and diseases has been heightened with the emergence of the disease.
Olly Scholefield, Streetscene manager at the council said: “This work is fundamental to the council’s Tree Management Plan which ensures that the trees for which we are responsible are safe and in a healthy condition. We look forward to working with Wharton Arboriculture on this project.”
Trees are seen by the council as a key component of the beauty, infrastructure and appeal of Stratford, which provide many benefits enhancing public open space, tourism and new housing development.
For further advice on tree care and management (including ash dieback) contact Wharton Arboriculture on Tel. 01789 459458 or visit www.whartontrees.co.uk
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