Will I have to say goodbye to a young ash tree?

Our lawyer Fiona McNulty answers your questions
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Question: Our property, for a townhouse, has quite a large walled garden in which we have a rowan tree and a young ash.

Our neighbour says she's really worried because she thinks that the trees may be affected by this disease killing ash trees.

As we are in a built-up area is this possible and is it a genuine concern?

Answer: I would say that it is. On October 9, the Government banned the importation and movement within Britain of ash plants, seeds and trees. This is because ash trees can suffer from a disease called Chalara dieback caused by a fungus which can lead to leaf loss, crown dieback and the possible death of the tree.

There are about 12 million common ash trees in Britain and Chalara dieback can affect an ash tree whether it is situated in your garden or in a wood. The disease was discovered in a nursery in Buckinghamshire this year in a consignment of infected trees which had come from a nursery in the Netherlands.

Last month, trees which had not been imported from mainland Europe or had any connection to nurseries were found to have Chalara dieback, which suggests that it is being introduced naturally.

Check your tree and if you have any concern do report it to the Forestry Commission or to the Food and Environment Research Agency.

If your young ash tree does have Chalara dieback, then it should be removed and destroyed by burning or burying. You do not need to worry about your rowan tree because although it is known as a mountain ash, Chalara dieback does not affect that particular type.

What's your problem?

If you have a question for Fiona McNulty, email legalsolutions@standard.co.uk. We regret that questions cannot be answered individually.

Fiona is a partner in the residential real estate team at Thring LLP (www.thrings.com).

These answers can only be a very brief commentary on the issues raised and should not be relied on as legal advice. No liability is accepted for such reliance. If you have similar issues, you should obtain advice from a solicitor.

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