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Maybe own a bit of history, kind of

That up there is the Wesley Tree in beautiful Winchelsea, the ash tree under which John Wesley preached his last ever outdoor sermon, 223 years ago today (spooky — I didn’t realize it when I started writing this post, but the date was October 7, 1790).

Actually, it’s not really. Tourists (or the devout, if you prefer) picked bits off of the original tree until a strong wind came along in 1927 and blew down what was left. This substantial tree was grown from a sapling taken from a cutting. So it’s kind of the historic tree.

Anyway, sadly, we’re having a serious ash die back over here, caused by a fungus, Chalara fraxinea. It turned up in Poland in 1992, ripped across Europe (Denmark lost 60-90% of their ash trees) and arrived in the UK in 2012, in a shipment of young trees from the Netherlands. There’s a lot of ash here, so this isn’t good.

So when the Wesley Tree looked unwell, everyone feared the worst. Well, it turns out the bugger has an altogether different fungus, the Hairy Bracket fungus. Which may or may not go along with an even eviller fungus, White Rot.

Damn, this tree hugging is complicated.

So what they’re doing up there is lopping off the affected limbs and hoping for the best. They’re also appealing for locals to take cuttings and seeds and grow backup trees, in the event of a bad outcome.

I was going to say, if any of my readers are Methodist arborculturists, you should totally ask for a cutting. And then I realized that might import ash dieback to the US.

So, bad idea. Forget I said anything.

October 7, 2013 — 10:55 pm
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