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Guidance on how to manage Ash Dieback

What to do if your trees are infected

The action you need to take depends on where the tree is located. Is the infected ash tree within falling distance of:

  • property
  • the highway
  • areas regularly used by people

If so it is likely that work will be required to make the tree safe. This work may include felling or pruning to remove the danger.

As the condition of the tree worsens, the wood will become increasingly brittle. This may impact upon the safety of those working on trees and also increase the cost of tree works. It is recommended that you:

  • take professional advice
  • act at the earliest opportunity 

You should seek professional advice about the management of trees from either:

  • an appropriately qualified tree surgeon (arborist)
  • a tree specialist (arboricultural consultant)

There are no treatments for the disease. 

See the managing your trees page.

You do not necessarily need to remove all ash trees from an area if they are not showing signs of infection. If your ash trees do not pose a danger, you may simply want to monitor the tree. This is because they provide a valuable habitat for birds, insects and animals. 

These trees may also be some of the few that prove resistant to the fungus. These should be retained if appropriate. They could provide a useful source for seeds for the replanting of ash woodlands. 

See the your responsibility as a landowner page for further information. 

Before starting tree work

Tree Preservation Orders (TPO) and Conservation Areas provide legal protection to trees. 

It is a criminal offence to prune, cut down or damage a protected tree without following the correct procedures. This can result in substantial fines.

Before you carry out any work on a tree, please check for the presence of:

  • Tree Preservation Orders and/or
  • a Conservation Area

View further information and application forms for permissions.

You may require a felling license if:

  • the trees are not part of a garden and
  • works will result in more than five cubic metres of timber

Felling licences are given by the Forestry Commission:

Please see the advice on the managing your trees page if

  • you need to carry out tree works on the highway or
  • works may affect highway users

How you can help slow the spread of the disease

Unfortunately, there are no treatments to prevent infection by the disease. But you can help slow its progress in the following ways:

  • by clearing and collecting the fallen ash foliage. This should be burnt, buried or deep composted.
  • cleaning footwear before and after visiting woodlands
  • washing car and bike tyres to remove mud or plant matter
  • by not removing plant matter from the countryside
  • Please note that there is a low risk of spread from clothing or from animals or birds. 

Guidance on biosecurity

Biosecurity is the measures that can be taken to reduce the spread of a disease. General guidance on biosecurity is available for tree owners and contractors. This is available from the Forestry Commission and the Arboricultural Association:

Guidance for woodland owners

The Forestry Commission have produced a useful guide for woodland owners.

The Forestry Commission also offer grants for restocking areas affected by ash dieback:

The Royal Forestry Society have produced the following information:

These are produced in association with the Forestry Commission.

The Woodland Trust have produced the following information:

This gives a useful insight into their woodland management  

Further guidance on ash tree management

You can find useful guidance on ash tree management via the following links:

There is also a link for large or small property owners. This has advice on managing trees and risk from the National Tree Safety Group.

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