Asian beetle could wipe out ash trees...and is heading our way
Ash trees could be wiped out by an Asian beetle just as they begin to recover from the devastating ash dieback fungus, scientists have warned.
In the latest State of the World’s Plants report, exerts at the Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew said that the emerald ash borer beetle was on the march to Europe and could be even more deadly than ash dieback.
Chalara or Ash Dieback disease is a disease of ash trees caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus and it has spread rapidly across Europe in recent years.
And the latest figures from the Department of Agriculture show that year on year that there is a continuing rise in the number and geographic distribution of confirmed findings nationally and is present in every county.
But now experts fear the emerald ash borer could soon arrive in Northern Europe and wreak devastation in a similar way to US cities, where tens of millions of ash trees across 25 states have withered and died at a cost to the economy of $10 billion. It has already been found west of Moscow.
Dr Richard Buggs, head of plant health at Kew, said the beetle could be the ‘final nail in the coffin’ for Britain’s ash trees.
“There is a real chance that the emerald ash borer could come to the UK. It’s currently devastating ash populations in America and it’s currently found around Moscow in Russia and research shows it is spreading towards Europe, so over the next few years we could see it enter Europe and spread through and find ash trees already weakened by ash dieback.
“And it’s actually far more damaging that ash dieback.