The CLA has said the private forestry sector is best placed to provide early detection of tree pests and diseases.
Attending a Tree Health Summit today (7 November),CLA President Harry Cotterell, who owns 350-acres of ash woodland in Herefordshire, said private foresters would be able to help support government action more effectively if they were engaged earlier in the fight.
Mr Cotterell said: "The CLA has welcomed the Secretary of State's commitment to change priorities within Defra to help control the spread of ash tree disease.
"We have now asked that planting grants for tree owners who have to destroy young plantations are not taken away from them."
He added: "Hands-on foresters in the private sector have a great deal of expertise. We have asked for a culture change within Defra and the Forestry Commission so foresters are recognised as the best early detectors of tree pests and diseases. However, they must be engaged earlier to help control the spread."