Residents have been asked to be on their guard against the outbreak of a deadly ash tree disease which has now spread to parts of Lincolnshire.
South Kesteven District Council has issued the warning after it was confirmed the disease ash dieback, which has devastated ash populations in northern and Eastern Europe, has been found in the county.
Diseased trees had initially been confirmed in East Anglia and in a car park in Leicester, but it has now spread to Horncastle and Wragby in the north of the county.
An unprecedented survey of Britain’s established woodlands has uncovered the disease in 115 sites: 15 nurseries, 39 planting sites and 61 locations in the wider environment.
There are no confirmed sightings within the Mercury area but residents are being warned about the issue.
Grounds maintenance coordinator for the council, Lynne Le Coute, said: “Large woodlands are likely to be the worst affected but the disease can also pose problems to gardeners.
“The fungus kills 90 per cent of the trees it affects so it is vital that we do all we can to stop it spreading.”
Ash dieback, which is known by its scientific name as Chalara fraxinea, affects trees of all ages. Young trees can be killed in one season and older trees tend to succumb after several seasons of infection.
Symptoms of the disease include black blotches on the leaves, often at the leaf base and midriff, which will also wilt, and on the stems small lens-shaped lesions or necrotic spots appear on the bark of stems and branches and enlarge to form perennial cankers. If the bark is peeled, the wood underneath has a brownish to grey discolouration. This discolouration extends beyond the bark tissue.
People who think they have spotted ash dieback should call the Foresty Commission on 0117 9066000.
For more information about the disease and a map of infected sites, visit www.forestry.gov.uk/chalara