The fightback against dieback

Landowner Barry Freeman from Bexhill is planting native trees provided by the Woodland Trust in a new pilot aimed to tackle ash dieback SUS-151221-164725001

Landowner Barry Freeman from Bexhill is planting native trees provided by the Woodland Trust in a new pilot aimed to tackle ash dieback SUS-151221-164725001

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A Bexhill landowner is playing his part in reducing the long-term impact of ash dieback by taking part in a new pilot helping safeguard the future of the countryside.

More than 300 trees will be planted in Sussex as landowners receive the first Tree Disease Recovery Packs supplied by conservation charity the Woodland Trust.

The packs, launched in the summer, have been tailored to be planted in landscapes where many ash trees are already affected and likely to be lost in years to come, in particular outside of woods in hedgerows, verges, along field edges, corners and watersides in the wider landscape.

The new tree packs contain 45 trees from a mix of five native species – beech, oak, wild cherry, hornbeam and birch – and come with tailored advice on planting, which will differ according to the type and condition of the landscape.

Landowner Barry Freeman from Bexhill said: “I have a small field which we used to keep our horse on and parts of the land have a small number of trees, mainly willow and alder, while one side has a stream running down lined with some oak trees.

“Small things like tree planting can make a difference if we all get involved, and can lead to a big difference in the long term.”

Austin Brady, Woodland Trust director of conservation, added: “The response we’ve had from landowners like Barry to our pilot is encouraging and shows the passion to look after our countryside in the face of ash dieback.

“Although we won’t lose all our ash trees immediately, we do expect many thousands to die across the countryside. We need to continue planting now, not only to protect the beauty of our landscapes but to provide the crucial habitat for wildlife that will be lost.

“We also need to help secure the wider benefits our countryside trees deliver: providing shade and shelter, helping to reduce runoff and erosion, and supporting pollinators. We need to act now, so I’d urge people to apply for our next delivery of packs in spring 2016.”

The trees are supplied as part of a £4.5m investment in native tree stock by the trust, ensuring all the trees the charity provides are grown in the UK from fully traceable seed stock, sourced throughout the UK and Ireland.

Schools and communities can continue to apply for free tree packs to plant in publicly accessible spaces. The trust also offers support for landowners who wish to plant trees on a larger scale through its MOREwoods scheme.

For more, visit www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/treedisease

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