WWOOF Founder Sue Coppard believes there may be an effective way to combat Ash Dieback and asked us to share this information with you.
As you will know, the disease Ash Dieback is spreading and continuing to kill ash trees throughout the UK. What is little known is that there is a soil improver, biochar, which protects ash trees, as I learned recently at a meeting of local organisation Climate Friendly Bradford on Avon during a lecture ‘Land Use and Climate Change’.
Five years ago comparative trials were carried out at a Woodland Trust forest near Braintree, where ash dieback is widespread. New ash trees were planted, some with biochar and some without. Those planted without biochar became infected and have now died or are nearly dead. Those planted with biochar are still Ash Dieback free. I understand the healthy trees were planted with Carbon Gold biochar Tree Soil Improver. Here’s a link to a Permaculture magazine article with more details and further details from the British Association of Landscape Industries.
- Biochar soil improver is introduced into the soil around the roots of young saplings when planted.
- To service a mature, established tree the ideal tool is either an AirSpade or the
- Vogtechnology, which does not disturb the roots of the tree but gets the biochar in.
- To do it manually you need to fork the biochar in at 10% by volume, or about 45 kg. per cubic metre. However, you only go down to a depth of a foot at most, so 4 or 5 kg. That’s a small price to save a mature ash tree.
I must stress that I have no arrangement with Carbon Gold, I’m writing to try to help the British countryside and preserve millions of ash trees. If you could kindly pass this information on to your friends and colleagues it could save a vast number of currently doomed ashes.