Farmers and forest owners need to be alert to the threat of ash dieback disease and act immediately if they suspect that an outbreak has occurred.
That’s according to Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney, who has urged farmers to attend Teagasc meetings being held on the issue later this month.
A serious disease of ash trees caused by the fungal pathogen Chalara fraxinea, ash dieback has already been identified in at least three locations in Co. Galway.
“It has spread rapidly across much of Europe causing significant damage to ash,” said Minister Coveney. “The disease can affect ash trees of any age and can be fatal, particularly among younger trees. There are more than 50 confirmed findings in Ireland to date.”
Minister Coveney pointed out that it is “timely and important now that ash trees are coming into leaf for farmers and others to take time out to examine ash trees for any unusual signs of the Chalara disease”.
The Minister also advised that in view of the seriousness of the threat, Teagasc, in association with the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, will hold a nationwide series of public information meetings on the disease.
These meetings will provide an opportunity for the public and in particular forest owners and farmers who have planted ash to learn more about the disease and the implications for those who planted ash.
“This disease is of serious concern as ash is one of Ireland’s most important native trees. I would encourage forest owners and farmers who may have planted ash to attend the Teagasc/DAFM meeting in your area to learn more about the disease.
“These meetings will provide the latest news on Ireland’s campaign to eradicate ash dieback and will also provide an opportunity for concerned members of the public to ask questions on this important matter.”
The Galway meeting will be held in Athenry in the Clareen Room on the Teagasc Mellows Campus on Wednesday 29 May at 8pm.