Tuesday, 26 February 2013

Rogue traders and ash dieback - bad advice or rogue trading?

We are hearing of reports from Trading Standards that some "rogue traders" are incorrectly advising householders that because of the ash dieback disease, the ash tree on their property must be felled or pruned. 

Tree owners are not currently required to take any particular action such as felling the infected ash tree, unless a statutory Plant Health Notice has been served on the owner. A Plant Health Notice can only be issued by the Forestry Commission or other plant health authority such as FERA.

It is not clear yet whether this alert has arisen due to well meaning advice that has been misconstrued or if actual rogue trading has occurred.  Either way tree owners are not obliged to undertake any action with ash trees regardless of whether they are infected or not.

Chalara dieback of ash, often referred to as ash dieback is a disease of ash trees caused by a fungus. The disease causes leaf loss and dieback in affected trees and depending on the age of the tree can lead to tree death.  This BBC page is useful as an introduction to the subject.

Once infected, trees cannot be cured, but not all trees die of the infection. Young ash plants can be killed within one growing season of symptoms becoming visible, whilst older trees can survive initial attacks, although they may die after several seasons of infection.

Trading Standards advise consumers to be wary when dealing with traders at their door.

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