"A killer fungus has attacked ash trees across northern and central Europe, prompting pleas for the UK to ban sapling imports. But it may already be too late"
"Deep in the forest of Gribskov, some of the leaves are starting to flush with their autumnal colours. It makes the stand of blighted trees all the more obvious.
Seven or eight 20m-high sticks, stripped of their greenery, are all that is left of a group of ash trees. 'It's very ugly and very sad,' said Ditte Christina Olrik, a scientist with the Danish government's Nature Agency. 'The fungus is very, very small, like pinheads, on the leaf stalks. When the leaves die and fall, the wind carries them on to the next tree.'
The little killer that has wiped out almost all of Denmark's ash trees, and has stealthily destroyed ash in Germany, Poland, Norway, Sweden and Austria has a big name – Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus, an anamorph of Chalara fraxinea. For those who enjoy a walk in the woods without a Latin degree, it's ash die-back."
Tracy McVeigh reports for the Observer October 6, 2012.