Ash Die Back in Carmel

There has been some sad news for Carmel National Nature Reserve with the discovery and confirmation of Ash Dieback Disease.

Ash Die Back at Carmel by Mat Ridley

Ash Die Back at Carmel by Mat Ridley

This disease is caused by a fungus that causes leaf loss, crown dieback and bark lesions in affected trees. Once a tree is infected the disease is usually fatal.

It is hard to establish how many trees have been affected at Carmel, especially with the time of year and the annual seasonal leaf fall that is naturally occurring. However it appears that the trees showing the initial signs of the disease are the smaller saplings. It is known that smaller trees can succumb quite quickly whereas the older trees can resist it for some time. However prolonged exposure, or another pest or pathogen attaching it in a weakened state does cause more mature trees to die.

It is also known that some trees shown a natural resilience to the disease. We shall have to see how the Carmel Ash fares.

We have been clearing willow and reeds to keep open an area of species rich fen. The rare marsh pea has been recorded here and we annually cut back the encroaching taller vegetation in an effort to retain this important habitat and species.

We have also spent a day at Llandyfeisant church yard at our Dinefwr Castle Woods Reserve. Each autumn the vegetation from the previous year’s growth gets cut back and removed to allow the flora for next year to flourish. For those who have never been the church yard is a great place to see snowdrops in February.

Also at Castle Woods we have been joined by staff from Glamorgan to help in some woodland thinning.

We have entered into a 5 year Glastir Woodland Management agreement for South Lodge Woods. During this period, each year a section has been identified and will be thinned. The thinning will increase the amount of light reaching the woodland floor, encouraging the growth and regeneration of seedlings, and a varied age structure of trees within the woodland. The thinning aims to also giving room to some of the fantastic veteran trees that are present.