Urgent Ash Dieback Appeal Our ash trees are in danger. All over Wiltshire, the fungal disease ash dieback has taken hold. We need your help to save our nature reserves from ash dieback disease While the name doesn’t sound too alarming, this deadly disease will lead to the decline and then probable death of every ash tree, and there are over 80 million Ash trees in the UK. The first signs of the disease are often on the leaves; then the fungus travels down the twigs into the branches, eventually infecting the heartwood. Initially, it causes the foliage to ‘die back’, but pretty soon the tree itself weakens. Afflicted trees also become susceptible to other pests and diseases, and can unexpectedly start to shed limbs, posing a danger to people and animals passing below. What’s happening here in Wiltshire? We’re devastated by the rapid onset of the disease. It has spread faster and further than anyone predicted. Across the county, we are already seeing trees dying. Like Dutch Elm Disease in the 1970s, which killed millions of elms, ash dieback will leave our landscape profoundly altered. Ash is one of the most common species of trees found in the UK and is often found in hedgerows, parks, and gardens. As well as being a dominant feature of the landscape, ash trees are home to a myriad of different animals such as insects, bats, and birds. We estimate that 60% of trees across our nature reserves are ash. Can you help us respond to this emergency with a donation? This disease has spread at an alarming rate, and action is required now. The Trust is facing an unexpected cost of at least £20,000. To identify trees posing the greatest risk, we are training staff and volunteers to carry out tree surveying across our reserves. Unfortunately, as diseased trees present a risk to safety, once the signs of the disease have reached the crown it must be removed. The cost of tree removal varies, but this can exceed thousands of pounds per tree, depending on the position of the tree and the labour and equipment needed to remove it. Critically as well as this we will be hiring safety equipment and potentially closing roads while the work is undertaken. We are also allowing natural regeneration to take place, and are leaving dead trees as homes for wildlife. However, in some of our nature reserves, ash makes up 60% of all trees, so to maintain this level of tree cover we will be re-planting with a range of different tree species to replace the dead ash and improve resilience. This is an urgent appeal, Please help us today to take action against this deadly disease. If you would like to help us as a volunteer:Report signs of Ash Dieback on our reserves or join a volunteer tree survey group by contacting us at: [email protected] or 01380 736092.