DAFM takes action in south Dublin against tree disease which can wipe out orchards

Fireblight of serious concern for apple and pear producers
DAFM takes action in south Dublin against tree disease which can wipe out orchards

Fireblight damage in a pear tree; it can kill blossoms, fruit, shoots, twigs, branches, and

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine has taken action to control outbreaks of fireblight, a contagious plant disease affecting apples, pears, and some other members of the family Rosaceae.

It is of serious concern for apple and pear producers.

Under optimal conditions, it can destroy an entire orchard in a single growing season.

After routine laboratory tests confirmed the presence of fireblight recently in south Dublin city, several trees were disposed of by destruction to stop the spread of the bacterial disease, which also attacks related ornamentals such as Cotoneaster, Sorbus, hawthorn and Pyracantha, as well as fruit-bearing trees.

DAFM sources said the main source of infection in south Dublin city has been removed, and a wider survey is being carried out as part of the effort to stop the spread of disease.

The causative bacteria can be carried by host trees such as mountain ash, whitebeam, hawthorn and firethorn.

Fireblight can kill blossoms, fruit, shoots, twigs, branches, and entire fruit trees.

Infected trees can be identified by the wilting and death of flower clusters and by sunken cankers. Fruit and leaves on infected branches also die and turn brown but remain attached to the tree.

If you suspect a tree may be infected, email the lantandpests@agriculture.gov.ie at the DAFM.

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