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Disease found in Japanese Larch Trees in Ireland

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food is currently investigating a small number of cases of a disease affecting mainly Japanese larch trees in the Tipperary/Waterford region. The disease is caused by the pathogen Phytophthora ramorum, a fungus like organism that can damage and kill trees and plants it infects.

Following findings of the pathogen in Japanese larch trees in Great Britain in autumn 2009, the Department, on a precautionary basis, initiated a special survey here of Japanese larch growing adjacent to areas where rhododendron infected with P. ramorum had already been detected. In addition to the findings in a small number of larch trees, beech trees which were growing in proximity to the infected larch trees were also found to be infected as were two noble fir trees.

Japanese larch trees represent some 3% of the total forest tree population in Ireland. The bulk of the wood from infected trees can be used in the normal way provided the necessary hygiene measures are taken at felling and in sawmills.

There has also been a finding in Northern Ireland and the Department is liaising closely with the NI Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

The Department is taking all necessary measures to establish the extent of the infection and to control the spread of the disease.

Date Released: 17 August 2010