Wednesday 17 September 2014

175-year-old tree falls victim to crippling fungus

Published 05/02/2014 | 05:36

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Warning signs on the base of the Kenmare Place tree, Meripilus Giganteus, a root and butt decaying fungus.

A CRIPPLING fungus, combined with one of the hottest summers in many years, proved a step too far for one long-term resident of the town: a 175-year-old beech tree.

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Located at Kenmare Place, it had been an attractive feature towering over the jarvey stand, its branches sheltering one of Ireland's most photographed locations.

It had witnessed the visit of British monarch Queen Victoria in 1861, the return of war veterans from the WWI battlefields and can undoubtedly be seen in Ireland's first talkie 'The Dawn' which was filmed in 1936.

But it eventually succumbed to the most common of ailments, a simple fungus.

Meripilus Giganteus, otherwise known as 'butt decaying fungus' is common in older beech trees across Europe and is not a newcomer.

The fungus attacks the roots of the tree and compromises its structural integrity so a decision was taken by the council's executive to make it safe before the new year storms.

The remainder of the trunk will be taken down over the coming weeks.

"It had to be removed for safety reasons and factors taken into consideration included the proximity to the jarvey stand, public toilets and public road," Assistant Engineer with Killarney Town Council, James Feely, stated.

"The tree was stressed during the long hot summer and struggled to produce any leaves as the fungus affected its ability to take up water. The natural life span of a Beech is between 150 years and 200 years, after which they become prone to diseases," James added.


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