Ash dieback regulations, information and advice for Scotland
Ash dieback is a serious disease of ash trees caused by a fungus called Hymenoscyphus fraxineus (previously called Chalara fraxinea).
The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback and is usually fatal in younger trees whereas mortality in older trees is more often associated with the combined impact of root pathogens such as the honey fungus (Armillaria mellea). Ash dieback caused widespread damage to ash populations across Europe, and was first discovered in the UK in a Buckinghamshire nursery in February 2012.
Ash dieback is present across Scotland. Management efforts now focus on mitigating safety risks from diseased trees, while allowing for natural regeneration of potentially disease-tolerant or resistant trees wherever possible.
Scottish Forestry chair the Ash Dieback Risk Group Scotland, bringing together practitioners from local authorities and the forestry, arboriculture, transport, utilities, research and nature conservation sectors to share knowledge, experience and examples of best practice in managing ash dieback.
Guidance for managing ash trees and woodlands in Scotland
Our ash dieback guidance can be accessed in two complementary documents available to view or download using the links below:
Guidance on the management of individual ash trees affected by ash dieback in Scotland contains information for land owners and managers, including householders and practitioners, who have responsibility for the management of individual and small groups of ash trees in non-woodland settings or individual or groups of trees in woodland situations that pose risks to public safety or property. This guidance contains example survey sheets for monitoring ash trees as well as information about felling permissions, tree protection legislation and restocking advice.
Guidance on the management of woodlands affected by ash dieback in Scotland provides information on how to consider ash dieback in conjunction with woodland management objectives. This guidance was developed in partnership with NatureScot. It is designed to help land owners and managers to plan for and manage ash dieback at woodland scale. It includes a management decision tool for woodlands where timber production is a primary objective and advice about managing woodlands for conservation purposes, including native ashwoods and Sites of Special Scientific Interest.
Ash Dieback: A Guide for Tree Owners in Scotland
The Tree Council produced an accessible Guide for Tree Owners for anyone responsible for ash trees in Scotland, including those with little to no prior knowledge of ash dieback or tree management. The guide is a good starting point with advice on identifying ash trees, assessing their health, and deciding what management steps might be needed. The guide was developed in partnership with Scottish Forestry and the Ash Dieback Risk Group Scotland. It can be downloaded for free from the Tree Council website here: Ash Dieback: A Guide for Tree Owners in Scotland.
An Action Plan Toolkit for Scotland
We encourage writing an Ash Dieback Action Plan to consider and prepare for ash dieback impacts. The Tree Council produced a toolkit to guide local authorities and other landowners step-by-step through creating a Plan. It includes case studies and examples from local authorities and other organisations in Scotland. The toolkit was developed in partnership with Scottish Forestry and the Ash Dieback Risk Group Scotland. It can be downloaded for free from the Tree Council website here: Ash Dieback: An Action Plan Toolkit for Scotland.