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Marc Liebrecht, arboriculturist and forestry supervisor at Carter Jonas, advises on handle bushes contaminated with ash dieback.
Q. I personal a blended farm which has a couple of small areas of woodland affected by ash dieback. Are there any grants accessible to help the felling of affected bushes, and what (if something) ought to I be planting to exchange them?
A. Thanks in your query. Sadly, you’ll not be alone on this because it’s estimated that greater than 80% of ash bushes within the UK will probably be affected, with solely a small variety of resistant or remoted bushes prone to survive it.
The primary little bit of optimistic information is that there’s grant funding accessible.
By the Forestry Fee, relevant the place 50% or extra ash bushes in any given space are contaminated, there’s funding for felling, with further help accessible for replanting and defending – to incorporate fencing as much as £3,500.
See additionally: What farmers must learn about ash dieback
The Forestry Fee is primarily seeking to facilitate and promote the restoration and upkeep of historic woodlands, so the utmost stage of funding accessible depends upon the character of the woodland and the species chosen for replanting.
On the decrease finish, £2,250/ha is offered for replanting non-native species on a non-designated website. There are additional ranges between these two.
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all resolution to coping with ash dieback in your farm or property. I like to recommend placing collectively a plan which incorporates completely different options for various areas, to include outgoings, potential revenue, security and biodiversity issues.
Essentially the most urgent areas to cope with are alongside roads, footpaths, third-party boundaries and close to properties.
Contaminated ash bushes are more likely to fall, so minimising well being and security threat round folks and property is paramount, and you might want to guarantee these are felled as quickly as attainable.
On the different finish of the size, the place ash is in woodland with no public entry, or remoted bushes in fields (with the latter being much less prone to turn out to be contaminated as a result of approach spores journey), you will have extra alternative and extra time.
Having weighed up the dangers – ideally following a go to from an arboriculturist or forester – chances are you’ll resolve that it’s applicable to depart nature to take its course.
Except for the price financial savings, there are additionally biodiversity advantages to doing so – the fallen bushes will create a habitat for wildlife, and good fertile soil for brand spanking new bushes to naturally take their place. You’ll additionally keep away from the lack of habitat and carbon sequestration that felling causes.
Brittle timber raises threat
Wherever the ash is positioned, nevertheless, the place felling is the precise resolution, you might want to be sure you use an skilled and educated contractor and get skilled recommendation on the extent of the illness.
One of many results of ash dieback is making the timber extraordinarily brittle, including additional hazard to the felling.
If the bushes are positioned in an accessible space, one other consideration is timber worth. If the potential revenue is an element, then chances are you’ll want to harvest sooner slightly than later because the timber is prone to have extra worth earlier than the an infection will increase and it turns into brittle.
The roadside worth for firewood grade timber (wooden that’s felled however not seasoned or cut up) could be round £35-£45/t.
You may then observe this with replanting. You’ve requested what you have to be planting to changed felled ash and, once more, the reply varies relying on the character of the location.
When you’re historic woodland, then you have to be native broad-leaf species. Aspen, sycamore and elm would all be appropriate, but it surely’s essential that there’s a combine, to make sure resilience sooner or later.
Outdoors of historic woodland, these three are nonetheless appropriate, however it’s also possible to introduce non-native broad-leaves and even conifers.
Once more, it’s essential that there’s a good combine, and you might want to be sure you’re selecting species which go well with the land sort, website circumstances and rainfall stage.
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