Identifying, Assessing and Managing Ash Dieback

Identifying, Assessing and Managing Ash Dieback
September 28, 2023
Guyzance Estate Guyzance Morpeth NE65 9AG

Identifying, Assessing and Managing Ash Dieback

Join us for an on-the-ground event exploring the issues ash dieback poses for landowners with ash trees and woodlands.

Identifying, managing, assessing Ash Dieback  

Ash dieback, hymenoscyphus fraxineus, is now common across the UK and poses a number of issues for landowners and farmers with individual ash trees and those in woodlands.  Hosted at Guyzance Estate in Northumberland on the 28th September, this Northwoods event explored the identification, assessment, and management of ash dieback in trees and woodlands.

Neil Harrison, of Northwoods and Reheat, opened the event with a characteristically engaging speech touching on the background of Northwoods and its current activities, the event aims, and relevant health, safety, and biosecurity information before introducing the estate and the main speakers.  

The capable Nigel Chopping of Tilia Tree Consultancy then led attendees through the history of ash dieback, symptoms of infection, and practical implications for managers and landowners with a particular focus on risk mapping. As the event progressed, attendees were able to inspect a number of ash trees in a variety of infection stages in different areas of the estate with discussions around stage classification, the risks posed and effective management options.  

Stakeholders from a variety of backgrounds attended, including landowners, farmers, local authorities, land managers/agents, contractors, and tree surgeons.  Various discussions were had around potential routes for management of example trees and stands with a variety of viewpoints and considerations expressed from maximising timber production and ensuring legislative compliance, to maintaining ecological status.  

While some attendees considered that early-stage felling operations were an attractive option to maximise income streams from timber crops and minimise health and safety risks, the cost of operations deterred others.  Forest Research advise, with the exceptions of felling for public safety or timber production, a general presumption against felling living ash trees, whether infected or not.  

Ash in the wider forestry landscape was touched upon. Ash accounts for 12% of broadleaved trees in the UK, and is common in parks and gardens, highways and hedges, and woodlands. Ash dieback is clearly here to stay, but research is currently showing that 5% of the ash population may be genetically tolerant.  Owners and managers of ash trees which show tolerance are encouraged to maintain the living tree. The impact of the extreme weather events, such as Storm Arwen, and whether they mask or expose the increasing extent of ash dieback in the North East was contemplated.  

There was general agreement that, where possible, mechanised management operations were the preferred route to minimise health and safety risks to operators.  However, mechanised operations can be more expensive, and contractors with the right equipment are in high demand.   Where mechanised operations are not possible, a suitably skilled and qualified contractor should be appointed to deal with any issues.  Andrew Mears of Unstumpable Tree Services demonstrated to the group safe climbing techniques and considerations when dealing with ash in different stages of decline.  

The topic of financial support for managing ash dieback was touched upon during the course of the event. At the time of the event, Northwoods was not aware of any grants locally for managing ash trees with ash dieback. The Forestry Commission’s Tree Health Pilot covers the North West, West Midlands, South East and London and will run until 31st August 2024. It will likely inform future funding schemes but does not cover the felling of trees with ash dieback, rather other associated costs such as road closure costs and restocking in the regions. Any queries around managing ash dieback and available support should be directed to your local Forestry Commission Office. You can contact them by emailing

Overall, the event received good feedback from attendees with some stating that the event helped confirm work priorities for their reports and action plans. Others were interested to hear about methods to assess the risk of affected trees and how to prioritise actions. Sector information was seen as valuable when engaging forestry stakeholders and operators. Constructive feedback such as stakeholders wanting more information on the financials of managing ash trees in woodlands. All feedback will be taken on board to improve and inform the next Northwoods events.  

Northwoods would like to thank Guyzance Estate for kindly hosting the event, Nigel Chopping for leading attendees through routes of identification, assessment, and management of ash dieback in trees and woodlands, and Andrew Mears for demonstrating safe and effective climbing techniques for ash trees. Thanks also goes to all attendees and those who asked questions and contributed to the discussions around the management of ash dieback.

Additional resources:


Ash Dieback Briefing Note

Farmers Guide to Ash Dieback


Nigel Chopping – Tilia Tree Consultancy  

07462 033438

Search Tilia Tree Consultancy on Facebook.  

Andrew Mears – Unstumpable Tree Services  

07815 857854  

Search Unstumpable Tree Services on Facebook  

Original event information

Ash dieback, hymenoscyphus fraxineus, is now common across the UK and poses a number of issues for landowners and farmers with ash trees and woodlands.

Hosted at the Guyzance Estate in North Northumberland this on-the-ground event will take you through the process of identifying, assessing, and managing ash dieback in trees and woodlands. The event is primarily aimed woodland owners.


15:30 - Meet at Guyzance Estate, NE65 9AG

16:00 - Talk and demonstration

18:00 - Event end

We will cover:

• What is ash dieback?

• How did it get here and how is it spreading?

• What does ash dieback do to trees and what are the practical implications of this?

• Practical implications for owners

• Effective management options

• Markets and opportunities for felled ash trees

As part of the funding requirements for this event, Northwoods will be taking photographs for future project promotion and case studies. If you are not happy for your image to be used please inform Northwoods event staff on the day.

The event will be outside and thus requires suitable outdoor clothing and shoes appropriate to the weather and season. In the event of poor weather there will be a marquee for part of the time.

If you have any questions please get in touch with us at

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