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.
- 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
- 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
Funding and partners
- This contract is being co-ordinated by Richard Buggs of Queen Mary University of London
- THAPBI is funded under the auspices of the Living With Environmental Change Partnership with support from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Economic and Social Research Council, Forestry Commission, Natural Environment Research Council and the Scottish Government
- Main funder (80%) is BBSRC as part of the LWEC framework
- Forestry Commission funds the balance (20%)
- Key Partners to date are:
Forestry Commission policy
This project is seen as a major contribution to the objectives of the joint Defra-Forestry Commission ‘ Tree Health and Plant Biosecurity Action Plan’.