Welcome to the Living Ash Project

This website provides information on the search for ash trees that show tolerance to the fungus that causes ash dieback, Hymenoscyphus fraxineus.

The first phase of the Living Ash Project ran from 2013 to 2018 and involved the screening and selection of common ash (Fraxinus excelsior) for resistance to Chalara fraxinea (as ash dieback was originally called). It was funded by Defra and delivered by a group of organisations with extensive experience with selecting and breeding ash for timber traits. It also used citizen science to look for trees in the wider environment. In total, 412 trees were selected from areas of high infection.

At the same time, Forest Research were screening 55,000 trees that were in production at the onset of ash dieback.  They too selected those trees showing the most tolerance and 557 were grafted and planted along with the selected trees from the Living Ash project to form the National Archive of Tolerant Ash.

We are now in the second phase of the Living Ash project, again funded by Defra, with the aim to secure tolerant material for seed production purposes.  We will be testing our selections using chemical fingerprinting and controlled inoculations to quantify tolerance, developing new propagation techniques and adding more tolerant trees to the archive. The tolerant seed we produce will be used to replant lost ash trees in our native woodlands.

The Living Ash Project runs until August 2024, and we encourage you to get involved and report tolerant trees to us.