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Replacing ash trees and preserving our native habitat

Act Now!

Where ash trees are present, landowners should act now where space allows. Planting should be carried out at the earliest opportunity to replace diseased ash trees. This will mean we have a stronger chance of preserving the beauty and biodiversity of our landscape. 

Replacing lost ash trees

You should not replace lost ash trees by replanting with ash. DEFRA has stated that ash is not considered a sustainable planting choice for replacement trees. This is due to the growing spread of the disease. It is strongly advised that other tree species should be chosen which are suitable to the planting site.

The type of tree you choose will be dependant on where you live and the space that you have.

Native species

Native tree species should be the first choice as these will help to replace lost habitat and support local animals and plants. The Woodland Trust have a guide to native tree species. Beneficial native species include

  • alder
  • beech
  • birch
  • blackthorn
  • field maple
  • hawthorn
  • oak
  • rowan
  • sycamore

Non native exotic trees

The Royal Horticultural Society have produced a useful guide to non-native and 'exotic' trees. This might be useful if you live in an urban environment or are replacing trees in a more formal garden. These may be more appropriate to these sites due to their size and habit.

The recommended replacement rates are:

  • three saplings for a large tree
  • two saplings for a medium tree
  • one for a small tree

Natural regeneration

Rather than (or in addition to) new planting you could consider natural regeneration from the seeds already present in the soil. Alternatively you can use existing saplings to replace lost trees. 

Resistant ash tree development

The Forestry Commission and Forest Research are working together with other organisations to develop resistant ash trees. It is hoped these will form the ash population of the future.

Further information

Find out more about the effect of ash dieback on nature as a whole.  As well as what you can do to help reduce the impact. 

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