The slow death of a 100 year old Ash tree in the village is surely due to the currently rampant Chalara fraxinas infection – although this has yet to be proven. I have been watching it’s slow decline over the last two years or so, initially just the tips of the branches, but last year the dieback was noticeably dominant. The tree, in some firm of emergency measure, sprouted secondary “epicormic” growth from the larger branches, but this summer even those have failed. By the autumn the few leaves it could produce were on lower branches which had sprung from the root or thereabouts. By this autumn these leaves were withering in the manner shown on the Forestry Commission’s identification sheets. I now wait for the Forestry Commission to asses the tree properly.
I do not think that this is the only tree infected – there is another mature specimen showing similar symptoms, but not as advanced. It is a concern of course that a number of the others in the parish are already infected. This is highly likely. The real question t ask is whether any will have a much-hoped for resistance. The landscape is certainly going to change.