The government has a cunning plan. Its response to fears of disease wiping out the nation’s ash trees is to plant another quarter of a million. Like canaries down mines, these young trees will be planted in disease hot spots to see which keel over. This should help identify those plants with natural resistance to the disease and thus build a healthy stock for the future. The £1.5 million project involves buying up stocks of young ash, which were otherwise due for the shredder, and planting them in the south east corner of England.