Different sizes, shapes and species, we rely on them to mark the change of seasons throughout the year but how we do know when they are suffering? The majority of us wouldn’t be able to identify tree disease but it poses a serious threat to the UK and it continues to spread across the country.

When timber reaches our workshop it has been through a process of elimination whereby any diseased species are filtered out so that only the best cuts are sent to us.

Spotting tree disease is not easy to the untrained eye, but having an awareness and understanding of the issue could help to prevent the spread. Summer is usually the best time to spot a diseased tree, as in winter and autumn, the trees will have shed their leaves.

Chalara Dieback of Ash first broke out in the UK in 2012, although it could have been here longer, and is currently threatening around 130 million trees. It is caused by a fungus called Hymenoscyphus Fraxineus and typical symptoms include leaf loss, blackened leaves and dark lesions on the bark. Ash dieback is highly contagious and is spread by spores which scatter naturally via wind. The Ash we use is typically ordered from America and would therefore not be in danger of this disease.

The English Elm tree has been attacked by Dutch Elm Disease in the past century and has killed over 60 million British Elms in two very serious epidemics. The cause of the disease is the fungus Ophiostroma Ulmi and it continues to spread today via bark beetles. It is commonly recognised by wilted, yellow leaves that then turn brown and fall.

These are just some of the diseases that pose implications to the UK’s tree population. To prevent the spread of harmful diseases, there are steps we can take. A term called ‘biosecurity’ refers to several useful tips we can follow. These include cleaning footwear before and after taking a walk in the woods, washing down the tyres of cars and bicycles, sticking to clearly marked pathways so you don’t stray into any infected areas and refraining from removing plant material or cuttings from the countryside.