Wakehurst closes nature reserve to fight ash dieback
The 150-acre Loder Valley is the latest nature reserve to suffer from ash dieback
Ten years since ash dieback was first discovered in the UK, Wakehurst's Loder Valley has become the latest nature reserve to close in order try to manage the spread of the disease.
Experts at Wakehurst, Kew's botanic garden in Sussex, have decided to close the reserve from early December to allow for a major tree felling operation to take place.
The diseased trees in the 150-acre site pose a risk to visitors. The work to fell the diseased trees will prevent trees and branches falling over public paths.
Extreme weather has also played a part in the acceleration of ash dieback, with drought stress having an effect on the spread of the disease.
The deadly fungus is set to kill up to 75 per cent of ash trees in the UK. At Wakehurst, tree surveys have revealed that over 90 per cent of ash had signs of dieback.
Russell Croft, arboretum manager said: “We have already made strong progress removing infected ash trees from roadsides around Wakehurst, as well as other areas within the gardens. The safety of our visitors and staff is our priority, so it’s essential we reduce and prevent the signs of ash dieback in our woodlands. Due to the instability of the trees, this is dangerous but extremely vital work.”
Loder Valley will be shut for a couple of months while the work takes place, it is the most significant closure in its history - the first time Wakehurst has had to close such a considerable stretch of gardens since opening as Kew's sister site in 1965.
Wakehurst's researchers are looking to generate a new population of resilient ash and Kew is considering the possibility of an ash breeding scheme to help secure the future for the native tree species.
Professor Richard Buggs, senior research leader (plant health) said: “There is currently no cure for ash dieback and it threatens to kill a vast quantity of ash trees in the UK. This will have a huge impact on the British landscape. Our new findings of natural resistance found in a small minority of British ash trees will help us to predict how ash populations will evolve under the threat of ash dieback. While many ash trees will die, our findings are encouraging from a long-term perspective and reassure us that ash woodlands will one day flourish again.”
Niwaki bundle worth £57 when you subscribe
Subscribe to Gardens Illustrated magazine and claim your Niwaki bundle worth £57
Transform your Garden- Special Edition
Transform Your Garden
This special edition features advice on designing your garden from the world’s top garden designers, including top tips for redesigning your plot or creating a new garden from scratch.
Discover eight inspirational gardens in town and country, and beautiful planting ideas for year-round colour. Learn how to make the most of a small space, how to cope with a slope, and the ten most common mistakes people make, according to professional garden designers, and how to avoid them.
Enjoy insights on everything from paths and parking spaces to wildflowers and water features, so that you can be confident in starting to create the garden of your dreams.
Just £9.99 inc UK p&p
Gardens of the Globe
From botanical wonders in Australia to tranquil havens closer to home in Ireland, let this guide help you to discover some of the most glorious gardens around the world