Ash dieback cases are on the rise

Ash dieback, first detected in the UK in 2012, is a lethal disease for ash trees.

Recently, this devastating tree disease has been wreaking havoc on ash trees across the country. At a time when local authorities are struggling financially, ash dieback containment is yet another operational and financial burden.

For a disease, ash dieback is very effective. It grows as a fungus on leaf litter and spreads via spores that can travel great distances before landing on an unfortunate ash tree. Younger ash trees do not stand a chance, while older trees more capable of fighting back often succumb after a few seasons of infection. Even if the ash dieback does not kill a tree, it leaves the tree weaker and vulnerable to other diseases and pests.

Put simply, ash dieback will kill 80% of the UK’s ash trees, costing billions of pounds of damage.

The importance of tree monitoring and management

Ash dieback has no cure, so the only option is disease containment. In the face of such a challenge, effective management and monitoring of trees is paramount, including:

  • Tracking the condition of trees over time. Regular tree inspections are a surefire way of tracking subtle changes to help council arborists keep on top of the task of disease management and containment.
  • Inspecting structural damage. Ash dieback causes damage to trees and eventually kills them. If the damage is severe enough it could cause the tree to collapse. If the tree falls on someone on your land, you could be held liable for damages, so dealing with diseased trees as soon as possible is a top priority.
  • Citizen awareness. Campaigns for ash dieback can galvanise nature lovers into becoming inspectors themselves, easing the burden on councils with shoestring budgets and resources. Providing citizens with the ability to report these issues is very important.

Tree management software is essential for containing ash dieback

Paper-based processes are not flexible or adaptable enough to handle ongoing disease containment. This is especially true when you consider there are millions of ash trees at risk. Constant attention and inspection has to be applied to as many of these trees as possible. To accomplish this, tree management software needs the following as a minimum:

  • Must be a mobile solution. One of the key features of a modern tree management solution is that it must be fully mobile. Rather than having staff and citizens write everything down on paper and having to constantly go back and forth submitting reports, a mobile solution allows tree inspections and observations to be conducted and recorded immediately out in the field, with photographs and location co-ordinates. This enables the collection of data in real-time on the health and condition of trees, including identifying symptoms of ash dieback.
  • Must be offline-capable. For rural areas in particular, wireless internet connection can be intermittent, if not outright non-existent in very remote areas. Having an offline-capable mobile solution means your officers can download all of their tasks onto their mobile device when they have a connection, go out into the wilderness to complete all of their tasks, and then once they return the mobile app will automatically send all of the captured information to the back-office once internet connection is restored.
  • Must have analytics and GIS mapping capability. It is all well and good having someone locate an infected tree, but without exact location information in a map-based tracking database it will be much more difficult for containment action to take place. Work needs to be carried out quickly to mitigate the disease spreading to other trees. A tree management solution with analytics and GIS mapping built in allows councils to analyse data trends from tree work, track the spread of ash dieback, and identify high-risk areas based on geographical areas. Data visualisation is essential for making informed decisions regarding resource allocation.
  • Must have an easily accessible database with the ability to log trees as assets. Being able to maintain a database of tree assets with a full history of inspections is obviously handy to have. Knowing and recording when a tree inspection was last conducted is equally useful. With task processes and an automated system to support them, inspection tasks can be generated automatically on a regular basis to ensure inspection consistency.

Our Tree Asset Management is a valuable tool

By facilitating mobile tree inspections, streamlined reporting and task management, and advanced analytical capabilities, our software empowers local authorities to effectively monitor, and manage their trees. If you would like a demonstration of our tree management capability, please contact us through our Contact Us page or via