We received a call from a client late last year about a large ash tree which had “died”. Upon visiting the site, alongside a country lane, we found a large and very dead tree. The tree had several bracket fungi around the base of the trunk which we identified as Perenniporia fraxinea. This fungi affects the lower trunk, buttress zone and principal roots of ash trees in particular.
It causes white-rot in the tree leading to cavity formation. As the fungi is perennial we were able to ascertain that it had been infected for at least three years as there were three layers of fungus. The tree was encrusted with ivy, however a further inspection revealed a cavity at 3m high. When we climbed the tree using a ladder to look at the cavity it was over a metre deep and the infection had eaten the heartwood of the tree.
We assessed the tree as potentially dangerous. The growth above the cavity was estimated to weigh at least two tonnes and was leaning towards the road. Due to the state of decay it would have been impossible to climb. Felling was out of the question due to the proximity of the road. A short phone call to our local District Council planning office confirmed that the tree was protected under a Tree Preservation Order. We therefore prepared an application to remove the tree on the grounds that it was dead and infected with a decaying fungus.
After a site visit from our local tree officer and a short wait, permission was granted to remove the tree. The land owner loaned us his rough terrain access platform to carry out the works safely which greatly reduced costs. Operated by one of our three qualified personnel, the tree was removed safely in one day. The trunk weighed an estimated 4 tonnes.