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POORLY PLANTS: Watford woods under threat from ash dieback

 Published on: 22nd December 2023   |   By: Bryn Holmes   |   Category: Uncategorized

Proactive works will soon be undertaken at Watford’s Whippendell Woods in a bid to combat the effects of ash dieback disease.

As a Site of Special Scientific Interest, the area plays host to a wide variety of natural plant species, but consists primarily of ash trees.

However, around 50 to 100 per cent of the woods’ ash tree canopy has been affected by to the rapid spread of ash dieback.

The disease causes the trees to become highly brittle, which also presents a health and safety risk as the trees become weaker and more likely to fall. This is especially of concern in the western edge of the forest, where the trees are situated close to the footpath.

Now, Watford Borough Council (WBC) has teamed up with forestry experts Maydencroft Rural to take action. This will include the felling of trees in ash-dominated areas, resulting in temporary path closures.

Though it will affect the woods’ canopy at first, the increased sunlight in the area should hopefully aid in the development of smaller trees and woodland plants. It will also attract other forms of wildlife, such as butterflies.

Councillor Tim Williams, WBC’s portfolio holder for streets and parks, said: “The council’s commitment to preserving Whippendell Wood’s ‘favourable condition’ status underscores the significance of this undertaking and maintaining the ecological value of this cherished woodland area.”

The works are scheduled to take place throughout January and February.

Photo credit: M J Richardson

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