Scheming with the Woodland Trust

Emma Bird, of the Woodland Trust

Emma Bird, of the Woodland Trust - Credit: The Woodland Trust

Woodland creation adviser Emma Bird from The Woodland Trust explains how its latest scheme is helping the countryside fight back against tree disease

Since ash dieback was confirmed in mature woodland in autumn 2012 it has spread across the country at an alarming rate, with well over 1,000 locations now with the disease present. East Anglia has really become the epicentre, with the first cases anywhere in the UK confirmed in the region.

This means it’s one of the most important areas when it comes to observing how the disease is changing the make-up of our woods, as well as tackling the impact. Although it’s widespread, the effects are only just beginning to show and the true impact may not be seen for several years. Which is why in the summer we launched a pilot to get people planting more trees in five counties - Northumberland, Kent, East Sussex, Suffolk and here in Norfolk.

Our “tree disease recovery packs” are aimed at landowners who are concerned about tree diseases, such as ash dieback and the effect on individual trees outside of woods. This winter 48 packs of trees have been distributed in Norfolk alone with more than 2,000 trees being planted. The packs consist of 45 trees, from a mix of five native species (beech, oak, wild cherry, hornbeam, birch) and also contain guards, stakes and tailored advice on how to plant them.

With 130 million ash trees in the landscape and up to 12 million of these outside woods we need to do all we can to ensure continuity as ash trees succumb to dieback. By planting trees now to replace those we will lose we can keep connectivity across the countryside and between woods. This will help wildlife adapt to any habitat loss or change and also increase the diversity of woodland cover to prepare against future attacks from pests and diseases.

Schools and communities can also plant trees too; we offer packs of 30, 105 and 420 trees which can be planted in a school or other publicly accessible space. They come with all the advice you need to plant the trees and we have staff that can provide further information.

There’s never been a more important time to plant trees, so if you’d like to do your bit find out more online at or call 0330 3335303.

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