The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has confirmed 82 cases of ash dieback disease in Ireland. Teagasc in association with the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine is currently holding meetings across the country for landowners and forestry owners who wish to become better informed about how the disease manifests and what to look out for.
The ash dieback was first discovered in Co Leitrim last October, and in all cases confirmed, the trees affected were imported from continental Europe and none were found in native ash trees.
“Ash dieback or chalara fraxinea was first noticed in forestry in Poland in 1992 and has since spread rapidly across Europe,” a department of agriculture spokesperson added. “It is now found in 19 countries and the first confirmed case in Ireland was seen in Co Leitrim last October.”
The Department’s Forestry Inspectorate maintains that the increase in cases to 82 in six months is not evidence the disease is spreading, but rather a result of the close ongoing surveillance of the ash population. “Ash dieback is generally fatal to young ash trees and can also kill mature trees,” the spokesperson continued. “The symptoms include blackening or browning of leaves, dieback of stems and development of diamond shaped elongated bark lesions. It spreads in the wild during the summer months when spores are released from infected ash leaves. While there has been no case in native ash trees so far, the risk of spread remains.”
The meetings for forestry owners will continue until the end of this month, while locally, discussions took place at the Teagasc Office, Roscommon; Teagasc Office, Mullingar and the Teagasc Office, Mohill last week. For further information log onto www.teagasc.ie/forestry or contact Liam Kelly (087) 9090495.