Ash disease update meetings

Forest owners are being urged to attend a series of public information meetings on the ash disease over the next 10 days.

The 22 meetings, which will begin this evening, will be held in local Teagasc offices.

A total of 36 forestry plantations have tested positive to date for the Chalara Ash Dieback disease at various locations countrywide.

The disease has also been confirmed at 15 horticultural nurseries, eight roadside landscaping projects, three garden centres, two private gardens, and 10 farms.

It was first confirmed here in Oct 2012 at a forest site planted in 2009 with saplings from a consignment of imported plants. All findings to date have been associated with imported plants,

Legislation has been introduced north and south in order to implement an all-island approach to tackling the disease.

Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney told Galway West TD Sean Kyne in a written reply to a Dáil question that a text alert will go out to 90,000 farmers about the information meetings, which Teagasc and Forest Service staff will address.

A survey has been extended to cover ash plantations established since 1992 as well as trees planted under AEOS and REPS.

Arrangements have been put in place to remove all ash trees from sites where the disease has been confirmed and from associated sites where trees from the same infected batch has also been planted. About 535 hectares of ash woodlands have been identified for removal. A grant scheme to support forest owners in the removal and destruction of infected, and potentially infected, trees and to replant with alternative species has been introduced.


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