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This project aims to identify the different ash species growing in arboreta in Britain, collect shoots for grafting onto UK native ash rootstock and then plant out onto sites where ash dieback is known to be present. Trees have been monitored for infection rates and survival across the various species.

Research objectives

  • Source as many of the different ash species growing in arboreta and botanic gardens in Britain as possible.
  • Identify at least 4 unrelated individuals within each species
  • Collect scions from selected trees and graft onto rootstock of UK native ash
  • Plant out successfully grafted trees in statistically replicated trials on two sites known to be infected with ash dieback
  • Observe and monitor disease development and tree survival
  • Consider possibility of introducing ash dieback tolerance into UK native ash from species that demonstrate higher tolerance using conventional tree breeding techniques

Latest updates

  • Successful engagement with all the major British arboreta and botanic gardens: Westonbirt (Forestry Commission); Kew and Royal Botanic Gardens Edinburgh
  • Four individuals from each of 29 species identified for scion shoot collection
  • Trials were established at 2 sites following a complete block design in 2016
  • Symptoms of ash dieback infection started to appear 3 years after planting
  • Latest assessment of tree health has taken place in 2021
Forestry Staff richard profile.2e16d0ba.fill 600x600 1
Richard Whittet

Head of Tree Breeding