The number of ash dieback cases in Ireland continues to decrease year-on-year and there has been 26 new findings so far this year, Teagasc said.

Ash dieback is a serious disease of ash trees caused by the fungal pathogen Chalara fraxinea and Teagasc said it was first noted in October 2012 in Ireland, on plants imported from continental Europe.

As of last July, there has been a total of 169 confirmed findings of the disease.

Some 69 of these were in planted forests and the remaining 100 in non-forest locations, such as horticultural nurseries, roadside plantings, garden centres, private gardens as well as REPS and AEOS plantings.

A total of 113 cases were identified in 2012 and 2013, 30 cases were identified during 2014 and to date in 2015, there have been 26 new findings, Teagasc said.

According to Teagasc most of these sites have now been cleared of infected material. The spread of the disease from sites with infected imported plants into the associated hedgerows has been observed in four areas.

Please remain vigilant, give your ash trees a quick health check and report anything suspicious, it said.

The disease has spread rapidly across much of Europe and the disease can affect ash trees of any age and in any setting, it said.

The disease can be fatal, particularly among younger trees. Only ash species are affected; Teagasc said that trees such as sycamore, oak, beech or mountain ash (rowan) are not susceptible.

Teagasc advises to give your ash trees a quick ‘health check’ now. Ash dieback symptoms to look out for include:

  • Foliage wilt.
  • Foliage discolouration (brown/black discolouration at the base and midrib of leaves).
  • Dieback of shoots, twigs or main stem resulting in crown dieback.
  • Brown/orange discolouration of bark.
  • Necrotic lesions and cankers along the bark of branches or main stem.
  • Epicormic branching or excessive side shoots along the main stem.