7 January 2020

Watch: How Kew is tackling ash dieback

Our scientists are working to save ash trees from this deadly disease.

By Ellen McHale

Looking up at an ash tree

In a few years, 70 million trees could be lost in the UK to ash dieback.

The much-loved ash (Fraxinus excelsior) is one of Britain’s 32 native species of trees. But it's threatened by the ash dieback fungus, or Hymenoscyphus fraxineus; a highly infectious, devastating disease. 

Losing ash trees on this scale will impact our precious British wildlife, as ash provide food and homes for many different species.

The trees are important players in our water cycle as they prevent floods and filter water, and are also used in everyday items such as tools and furniture. 

Our scientists are investigating ways to tackle this deadly fungus. By collecting samples from infected trees and extracting DNA in the lab, they want to understand whether genes in ash harbour resistance to the disease. 

Professor Richard Buggs, Senior Research Leader at Kew, explains... 

Branches and leaves of an ash tree, against a blue sky

Support us

Kew scientists are discovering long-term solutions to combat biodiversity loss and climate change. Support our work today.

Read & watch