Pests & Diseases

Chalara fraxinea - Ash Dieback

Ash Dieback disease is caused by the Chalara fraxinea fungus. The disease causes leaf loss and crown dieback in affected trees, and it can lead to tree death. It is believed to spread from both nursery transplants and ash wood, consequently imports of nursery stock, firewood and wood for hurley manufacture in particular all pose a threat.

Chalara fraxinea was first confirmed in eastern Europe in 1992 and it has spread westwards since. The disease was found in Britain in Spring of 2011 and first identified in Ireland in a plantation in Leitrim Autumn 2012. To date there have been 39 confirmed findings of Chalara fraxinia in forestry plantations in counties Carlow, Cavan, Clare, Galway, Kildare, Kilkenny, Leitrim, Longford, Meath, Tipperary and Waterford.

Forest owners and members of the public are asked to be vigilant for the disease and report any sites where there are concerns about unusual ill health in ash to Forest Service, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phoning 01 6072651.

Symptoms to look for include necrotic lesions on stems and branches leading to foliage wilt, dieback of branches and death of the top of the crown.

Read more: Chalara fraxinea - Ash Dieback

Dothistroma Needle Blight

Dothistroma Needle Blight (DNB) also known as Red Band Needle Blight is a disease, primarily on pine, that can be caused by the two fungal pathogens, Dothistroma septosporum and Dothistroma pini. The disease has been present in Great Britain since the 1950s and is now a serious disease of pine species there. The disease was found in Northern Ireland in 2011 on Corsican pine. The disease is present in most other EU Member States and in many other countries outside the EU.

DNB has now been found in the Republic of Ireland for the first time (September 2016). It was identified, following laboratory analysis, as being present on Scots pine trees at two forests, one in Limerick and one in Cork.

Dothistroma septosporum tree disease is listed as a quarantine disease and is regulated under the EU Plant Health Directive - Council Directive 2000/29/EC, which requires Member States to take all necessary measures to eradicate, or where that is impossible, to inhibit the spread of the harmful organism.

The Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) is taking a number of actions in relation to the disease, detailed on the Department's website.

Read more: Dothistroma Needle Blight

Phytophthora Ramorum

Phytophthora ramorum symptoms on Japanese larch
The disease caused by the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum a fungus like organism, can damage and kill plants and trees it infects.

Symptoms at a forest landscape level:

  • Dead and dying partially flushed trees in groups or scattered throughout the stand
  • Canopy may be an abnormal grey/brown colour
  • Affected trees may show needle wilt, branch and shoot dieback, abnormal shoot growth

Read more: Phytophthora Ramorum

Pine Weevil - Hylobius Abietis

The Pine Weevil, Hylobius abietis, is a serious pest and has been recognised as such in Europe for a number of centuries. It is particularly wide-spread in replanted coniferous forestry plantations. Females lay their eggs in stumps of recently cut conifers. Larvae develop below ground in the 'protected' environment of these root-stumps, feeding upon the inner bark. Adults emerge to feed on the stems of replanted seedlings, and because the adults are large relative to seedling trees, a single individual can damage or kill several young plants.

Read more: Pine Weevil - Hylobius Abietis

Green Spruce Aphid

Green spruce aphid (Elatobium abietinum) is an insect that infests spruce trees. Unlike most aphids, the green spruce aphid is active and causes damage to spruce trees (Picea species) over the winter months. This aphid differs from most other aphids by being active from autumn to spring, instead of in the spring and summer. This pest is particularly damaging in mild winters, which enable it to breed more rapidly.

For more information, check out the following links:

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