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Somerset site gives glimmer of hope for ash dieback disease
8:00pm Monday 28th October 2013 in News
TREES at the Holnicote plantation who were diagnosed with Chalara fraxinea (ash dieback), in September have survived for far longer than previously thought possible.
This suggests there may be potential to slow the spread of the disease in Britain.
Only ten per cent of the six thousand ash trees at the Holnicote plantation are showing any signs of the disease, despite having been infected for five years longer than other trees in the UK.
Dr Simon Pryor, natural environment director at the National Trust said: “It's important that the disease has not appeared to have spread very far at all.
“Even all the trees affected have not suffered as much as we'd have expected, and very few have died, despite apparently having had the disease for nearly a decade.
“Whilst we don't want to be too optimistic on the basis of this one outbreak, this does confirm the view we've held from the outset that it is worthwhile removing infected trees in order to try to slow the spread.”
The disease is present in one other small plantation nearby but does not appear to have spread any further.
The National Trust discovered the outbreak of ash dieback at its Holnicote Estate in September when undertaking routine inspections for the disease.
Mark Courtiour, countryside operations manager at Holnicote said: “Discovering the disease at such a large site is particularly heartbreaking.
“Like others we were shocked to discover that the trees we thought were being grown in British nurseries were actually being grown on and imported from the continent.
“We will be felling all the infected trees as a matter of priority and filling the gaps with other species.
“However, there is a real glimmer of hope and we are continuing inspections at the site.”
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