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Woody2Shoes wrote:... and activities like flailing hedgerows are good new ways to spread disease around the place. .

As the mechanisation of hedge trimming and wood debris chipping evolved post c. 1950 My Father (who died in 1982) expressed reservations about the lack of pest and disease control involved with the practice for many years.

It was with very mixed feelings, having spent many autumn/winter/springs carrying out the back breaking tasks of hedge trimming and ditching by hand, the advent of the tractor mounted equipement was a relief, but he often commented that the loss of the winter warming hedge cutting debris bonfires that naturally sterilised any suspect thinning's could pose a risk. Orchard pruning's of suspect wood were always burnt asap rather than chipped and left in place. I can't help thinking many of the old stile established orchards and wood plantations were and are not helped by this lack of basic housekeeping.
By phil.p
And another pest - the box tree moth. I've just read in I that gardeners in N.T. estates are trying to find ways of encouraging jackdaws as they have been found to eat the caterpillars.
By Yojevol
Had a Cotswold walk about 5 miles north of Wesonbirt yesterday. I was aghast at the sight of damaged and dead ash trees in the area. I was with my arborialist son-in-law who was pointing out all the features. It is thought that this particular infestation was caused by a nearby area that was replanted with infected saplings imported from a continental supplier a few years ago. Other species in the replanting are progressing well. Here are a couple of shots taken on the walk:-
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The first signs are a thinning of the crown leaf density. If the tree survives the first winter after infection the crown sprouts a large number of stubby twigs which come into leaf but don't survive much longer. As the tree dies back the timber becomes brittle which makes it vulnerable to winds and makes felling a hazardous business.
There is consequential damage which we saw examples of yesterday. As the root decays a fungus goes wild feeding on the rot. This in turn attacks the roots of other nearby species such as hazel and beech saplings. It is thought that a normal balance will be resumed once the ash has rotted completely.
The other damage we saw was from squirrels eating beech tree bark high up in the canopy resulting in some quite large branches being snapped off in recent high winds.
My son-in-law has been involved in risk assessment of infected ash trees falling on highways and other places with public access. This work has been done mainly for local authorities but thousands of ordinary landowners will carry the same burden and responsibility. The cost is going to be huge.

All in all a sobering Sunday walk