Trees and meadows

Council work with trees

We own and manage more than 100,000 trees across the city: street trees; trees in parks and spaces; trees in school grounds and trees in many other public spaces.

In addition, we are also responsible for over 800 acres of woodland. To look after our trees we employ a team of Arboricultural Officers who carry out:

Bristol trees are managed according to our Tree Management Policies (pdf, 307k) (opens new window)

We are proud of our trees and appreciate the positive impact they have on the city. You can find more information on the benefits of trees in cities in the new Forestry Commission Research Report (pdf, 2.0 MB) (opens new window) (pdf, 2MB) (opens new window) .

We want to see many more trees planted in the city and achieve a 30% tree canopy cover up from 14% today. To help us in this task we are inviting residents to sponsor a tree or join us at one of our tree planting events.

Ash trees - new disease - Chalara fraxinea

Chalara dieback of ash is caused by the fungus Chalara fraxinea which was found in the UK for the first time in 2012.

The disease is characterised by the premature loss of leaves from the outer parts of the crown (top and sides), accompanied by long diamond-shaped lesions or areas of sunken and discoloured bark on twigs. These lesions girdle twigs and small branches, starving the leaves above of water and nutrients and causing whole branches to die. In mature trees, it is the new growth that is affected.

Is the disease present in Bristol?

Chalara ash dieback was confirmed in Bristol for the first time in June 2014.  Currently, this is a single disease outbreak within the Bristol City boundary that is affecting young ash trees.  Several other diseased trees have been found on Bristol’s north east boundary with South Gloucestershire and the relevant land owners have been notified. 

We are following current Forestry Commission advice, which is to monitor the disease outbreak and any spread of the disease.  There is no advice to remove infected trees or affected material, which has proved ineffective in preventing the spread of the disease.  It may prove necessary, however, to remove or prune infected trees for health and safety reasons.

What are the signs of the disease?

Note that ash trees generally have been showing some symptoms of stress over the past couple of years probably due to climatic reasons with some trees having smaller and fewer leaves than normal: this should not be confused with symptoms of Chalara fraxinea.  Further, given that one of the symptoms of Chalara fraxinea is leaf loss during Autumn identification of the disease will be more difficult due to natural leaf fall.. 

What should I do if I think I have found Chalara disease?

The disease is notifiable, which means that suspected cases must be reported to the appropriate plant health authorities.

If you think that you have identified Chalara ash dieback on an ash tree in a new area of the country, you must report it to the Forestry Commission, preferably using its Tree Alert app or on-line reporting form accessible from, and preferably with a high-quality, well lit photograph of the symptoms and a precise description of its location. The map at the above web page will indicate whether the disease is already known to be present in your area.
Before reporting suspected cases, however, please be sure that the tree is an ash tree and the symptoms are those of Chalara ash dieback. To help you with this, the same web page provides links to guidance to recognising ash trees, which can be easily confused with rowan or ‘mountain ash’ trees, which do not get Chalara ash dieback; and to recognising the particular symptoms of Chalara dieback - ash trees can be affected by other forms of dieback, which do not need to be reported.
If you do not have internet access you can report suspected cases to the Forestry Commission Plant Health Service, Silvan House,
231 Corstorphine Road, Edinburgh EH12 7AT; tel: 0300 067 5155.
For more information see the Forestry Commission pests and disease website