Tuesday 13 November 2018

More ash tree killer disease cases found

Treacy Hogan

MORE cases of the rampant disease killing ash trees nationwide have been confirmed today.

Of the 46 cases of ash dieback 26 are in forestry plantations in counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Longford, Meath, Tipperary and Waterford.

A total of 14 horticultural nurseries have also tested positive for the disease, along with three samples from roadside landscaping, one garden centre, a private garden and one farm.

In a statement today, Agriculture Minister  Simon Coveney revealed other samples have been submitted on an ongoing basis to their  laboratory and the results are awaited. 

“I am conscious that this situation has presented difficulties for those that have had to remove and destroy ash plants but I believe that taking decisive action now on imported ash product is the correct approach to prevent the establishment of this disease in Ireland.”

The minister said he was pleased with the North-South Chalara Control Strategy and he wanted to receive feedback from the public.

Ash Dieback disease is caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus and the incidence is on the increase across Europe.

The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and it can lead to tree death.

First confirmed in eastern Europe in 1992 it has spread inexorably westwards and in Britain it was first found in February 2012 in a consignment of infected trees sent from a nursery in the Netherlands to a nursery in Buckinghamshire.

Since then it has been detected in Ireland, prompting an urgent initiative launched by the Department of Agriculture to try and stem its normally rapid expansion.

Thousands of Irish farmers have planted millions of ash trees on their land in recent years.

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