Planting field trees to counteract ash loss

August 16, 2022

As the loss of our iconic ash trees transforms the Dales landscape, planting field trees is increasingly important to replace and extend lost tree cover.

Ash is prevalent in woodlands across the Dales and a landmark in our fields, farms, and villages – but it is thought that we could lose up to 80 per cent due to ash dieback. This untreatable disease is the result of a fungus which infects the tree via the leaves, eventually blocking its ability to take up water.

And, as of yet, there doesn’t seem to be a resistant strain of the species.

Although we cannot replace these magnificent trees, YDMT is working with the National Park and landowners across the Dales to plant field trees that will grow to be significant features in the landscape – and replace those lost in the storms we had at the beginning of the year.

YDMT Woodland Officer, Chris Lodge, said:

“Over the last 15 months we have planted nearly 100 field trees. When mature these trees will not only provide interest in the landscape but will also be fantastic for wildlife. They will also provide shelter from the sun for livestock as well as capturing carbon as we fight climate change.

“This year we will plant more than 60 as we work with farmers and landowners to try and mitigate the loss of our iconic ash. We will plant native broadleaf trees such as small leaf lime, aspen and oak, with each sapling being planted within a cage to protect them from livestock. The field trees will also be supported by shrubs such as hawthorn to provide extra protection.”

He continued:

“We know that these field trees do not directly replace ash, but we hope that eventually they will grow to be the new veteran trees of the Dales and provide vital habitat for our wildlife.”

A donation of £60 could help us plant a field tree to replace our iconic ash and provide new habitat. You can help us do more by donating here.