Ash dieback transmitted in the soil

Scientists discovered in 2016 that asexual spores of H. fraxineus are infectious and are able to germinate on leaves and infect seedlings via the soil. The asexual spores may possibly be carried by insects, water and/or wind and are produced in large numbers throughout the year.

The findings have significance for developing strategies to limit the spread of ash dieback.  The research suggests that is is possible that several strains of H. fraxineus could be found in any particular group of ash trees and rapid evolution of the fungus could occur.

This could result in more ash species being susceptible to the disease and the disease could evolve in such a way that other species in the Oleaceae family (privet, lilac and olive) could become susceptible.

This article from 2016 explains the discoveries in more detail with pictures.

‘Nature’ Article about Role of Asexual Spores

Text provided by Ben Jump, retired forester/arboriculturalist based in Scotland.