Living with Ash Dieback: Scientists concede eradication of disease wreaking havoc on our ash trees no longer feasible
Ireland must learn to live with the fungal diease which has wreaked havoc on ash plantations across the country as the latest scientific evidence suggesting that eradication of the disease is no longer possible.
Chalara or Ash Dieback disease is a disease of ash trees caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus.
Dieback symptoms in ash had been first noted in Poland in the early 1990s without any identifiable cause.
The origins of the disease are not certain, but scientists have suggested the disease may have been introduced to Europe from eastern Asia.
The fungus which causes the disease has a complex life cycle.
Infection first makes its way into a tree when the spores of the fungus are carried in the air and land on healthy leaves over the summer months. The fungus then grows into the leaves and down into the leaf petiole or rachis, and progressively into twigs, branches, and the stem.
The first confirmed finding of ash dieback disease in Ireland was made in October 2012 in a forestry plantation in County Leitrim which had been planted in 2009 with trees imported from continental Europe.
Shortly thereafter all the recently planted ash trees on that site were destroyed under Departmental supervision.