The best case scenario is to be able to save the most valuable trees, according to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The department wrote to a company which had proposed a general treatment and confirmed that they had “serious doubts” it would work in woodland, according to The Times.

But the fungicides could help save trees of special conservational value, or young trees still in nurseries. 352 sites across Britain are infected with ash dieback.

The recent cold snap has stopped the spread but it is expected to resume in the spring when the in the spring when the Government will announce it’s plans to deal with the disease.

The Forestry Commission has used Huddle’s cloud collaboration services in a project to control the spread of a tree disease known as ash dieback.

The organisation started using Huddle’s cloud-based collaboration software as a result of an existing relationship between Huddle and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

The software enables multiple organisations and the people within those organisations to work and share documents in real time. It automatically updates documents after they are changed so the final version is available.

the cloud-based nature of the Huddle tool meant it could be set up quickly, without the need for IT resources, and it offered a pay-as-you-go model.

Genetic data collected from infected trees in Ashwellthorpe wood in Norfolk will be posted on the Sainsbury Laboratory website this Friday at the new OpenAshDieback site, with the aim of finding out what makes the fungus that causes dieback attack the ash – and the best methods to halt or slow its spread.

Prof Sophien Kamoun, the head of the Sainsbury Laboratory, which is doing the work jointly with the John Innes Centre in Norfolk, said that scientific emergencies such as ash dieback made standard methods – where publication is peer-reviewed in secret and eventually published – too slow to be useful.

“I do have a beef with the way that research is typically done,” Kamoun said. “Scientists do genome sequencing but then hold onto it until it’s formally published. This isn’t appropriate in an emergency. Open sourcing the understanding of data in this way is totally adapted to the age of the internet.”

Researchers have developed a low-cost solution that could control the fungal disease that is threatening the UK’s 80 million ash trees. Initial tests are being carried out at Imperial College London’s Silwood Park Campus in Berkshire and will continue in Spring 2013.

The product is called CuPC33 — a solution of copper sulphate and other minerals. Copper has long been used to treat fungal diseases in homes and gardens and a number of copper-based products are safety approved for use by health authorities in the UK. Laboratory trials show that the product is highly effective at controlling fungi that cause tree diseases, and greenhouse trials carried out at the Silwood Park Campus show the product does not harm the trees, either when injected or sprayed onto them.

The scientists say that CuPC33 could be dispersed through infected woodlands by spraying or as a dense medicated mist that lands on leaves and branches. Using technology that atomizes the liquid into very tiny droplets, they anticipate ten litres of diluted CuPC33 is sufficient to treat one hectare of forest at a material cost of less than 60p per litre. The cost of manpower and machines would represent the bulk.


There are over 3,000 ash trees in Southwark owned by the council, and many more on private land such as golf courses and gardens. We have called on the council to draw up contingency plans in case the ash dieback disease, Chalara Fraxinea, takes root in Southwark. You can read out press release for more information here.

This map shows the location of all council-owned ash trees in Southwark. Click on the colourful numbers to zoom in and explore the trees.

Martin Ward, the chief plant health officer at the Department for the Environment, said scientists are working on a single disposable test kit. Already ‘lateral flow’ kits, much like a pregnancy test are used to detect other diseases in trees like sudden oak death. A tissue sample from a leaf is mixed in with a solution. The tester kit is then dipped into the liquid and a signal such as a blue bar shows if the result is positive.

The kits could be sent out to members of the public via the Forestry Commission or private organisations to speed up reports of the disease. Dr Ward said tester kits to spot chalara could be developed within “several months”.

An aerial photography company has created a map of all the trees in the country, which it says could prove vital in monitoring ash dieback disease.

Bluesky International, of Coalville, used photographic and infrared images taken from the air and combined them with height data to produce the 3D map of trees across England and Wales.

The firm said the map would be regularly updated so it could be used to monitor the effects of the disease which is threatening ash trees.

It is also planning to set up a web portal so experts can add the species of each tree to the map.

Conventional methods of testing for ash dieback rely on samples being sent to a laboratory from the outbreak site and it can take a number of days to get the results back. Using the Smartcycler, scientists and inspectors can take samples of potentially infected trees and test them for the presence of the fungus, getting the results back in just over an hour. The Smartcycler operates through a computer and is about the size of a large car battery, weighing about 10kg.