Action on Fireblight tree disease

by Rose Barrett
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Dublin City Council’s Tree Officer asked the Horticulture and Plants Health Division of the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine to take samples from a number of dead street trees which were noticed in Abbey Drive, Dublin 7 in order to check for Fireblight disease.

Fireblight is a highly contagious plant disease caused by the bacterium Erwinia amylovora which chiefly affects members of the Rosaceae (rose family) including apple trees, pear trees and related ornamentals including Cotoneaster, Sorbus, Crataegus (Hawthorn), Photinia and Pycacantha and can kill susceptible varieties within one growing season.

Fireblight also has the capacity to impact upon the agriculture and nursery sectors and Ireland is required under EU law to act when an outbreak is detected. 

The tests for Fireblight were positive and consequently 113 trees will have to be removed from Monday, October 3 at Riverston Abbey, Ashtown, D7. The trees will be felled by a qualified tree surgeon company. Tools will be disinfected after work to avoid any further contamination and all tree parts will be transported in sealed trucks to be incinerated. 

Replacement tree planting will begin this winter and will continue for three to five years. A series of 36 locations have been identified for planting this winter by the Dublin City Council’s Parks, Biodiversity and Landscape Services team with a variety of tree species to avoid a monoculture of trees which might be similarly affected in the future by the spread of a disease.

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