Despite the lush summer leaves, our trees are under attack

Adam Hart, Richard Buggs (Interviewee), Ruth Mitchell (Interviewee), Stephen Woodward

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Looking at the countryside now in the middle of summer, it is hard to believe that trees are under threat from an array of diseases and pests. Warm and wet conditions with plenty of sunshine have led to an verdant explosion of plant growth. After news of the spread of ash dieback across the UK many people may be surprised to see ash trees in Britain coming into leaf at all, but tree diseases are not necessarily as quick as media hyperbole might suggest. It can take years for a mature tree to succumb to disease, but once the pathogenic fungus, bacteria or virus takes hold then while the end may be slow, it’s also virtually inevitable.

At the recent Cheltenham Science Festival, I was joined by three leading UK experts in tree disease: Professor Steve Woodward from the University of Aberdeen, Dr Ruth Mitchell from the James Hutton Institute and Dr Richard Buggs from Queen Mary University of London. Ash dieback was at the forefront of the audience’s concerns, with many reporting seemingly healthy ash trees in their back gardens.
Original languageEnglish
Specialist publicationThe Conversation
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2014

Bibliographical note

Adam Hart does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.


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