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Teagasc Forestry eNews May 2013


Ash dieback public information meetings

Ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea) is a serious concern for one of Ireland’s most important native trees. Forest owners are asked to attend one of a nationwide series of information meetings to learn more about the disease and how we can all work together to eradicate it.

These public information meetings are being organised by Teagasc in association with the Forest Service and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. They are being held in response to the recent findings of Chalara fraxinea in a number of young forestry plantations and other locations.

They will run from May 20 to 30 and will be held in local Teagasc offices. All meetings will start at 8pm. Please click here for more information on meetings in your area.

Ash dieback is a serious disease of ash trees caused by the fungal pathogen Chalara fraxinea (Hymenoscyphus pseudoalbidus). It has spread rapidly across much of Europe causing significant damage to ash. The disease can affect ash trees of any age and can be fatal, particularly among younger trees.

With more than fifty confirmed findings in Ireland, the information meetings will provide an important and timely opportunity for the public and in particular forest owners and farmers who have planted ash to learn more about the disease. The meetings will provide the latest news on Ireland’s campaign to eradicate the disease and offer an ideal forum to get answers to your questions about ash dieback. At these meetings, staff from Teagasc and the Forest Service will answer questions foremost in people’s minds.

  • What is ash dieback?
  • What does it look like?
  • What is the current situation in Ireland?
  • What to do if you have a suspect tree?
  • What measures are being taken to eradicate the disease?

The meetings will also address the consequences for forestry grant aid, REPS and AEOS. Particularly where ash dieback is confirmed in ash trees planted under these schemes.

Remain vigilant! The key message is to be vigilant for this serious disease.

Visit the Teagasc Forestry website for details of a public information meeting near you.

The 2013 Irish Forestry, Woodland & Bio Energy Show

Stradbally Hall, Co Laois, Friday 10 - Saturday 11 May 2013

Teagasc’s Forestry Development Department will be in attendance at Ireland's largest forestry and woodland show. This year's show will take place at Stradbally Hall. Teagasc will have its own marquee and demonstration area highlighting its extensive advisory, research and training services.

Teagasc’s Forestry Development Department will focus on the many benefits of farm forestry. Forestry advisors and specialists will be available over the two days to answer your questions on how best to incorporate a forest into your farm and to provide on the spot advice regarding your existing forests.

See the latest research on tree breeding, conifer and broadleaf silviculture, site classification and on how best to prepare your forests for thinning, harvesting and marketing.

Teagasc Education Department will be there highlighting forestry courses and training available.

Information on the many Forest Owner Groups from all around the country will be present in the Teagasc Marquee with information on their activities and contact details on how to join up.

Growing, harvesting and using wood fuels and energy crop products to generate heat, electricity and fuel for homes and businesses will be explained by Teagasc’s Bioenergy Department.

Special Demo Area

Directly outside the Teagasc Marquee there will be live demonstrations over the two days on many aspects of forest management from tree planting to forest safety.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Further information is available from the Teagasc Forestry website and www.ifwshow.ie

Bark stripping by grey squirrels

Foresters and woodland owners are familiar with the potential of grey squirrels to damage broadleaf trees by bark stripping. Damage usually occurs in June and July when the sap is high in the trees. Sycamore, oak and beech are particularly susceptible but all species can be damaged including birch, and to a lesser extent ash. Incidence of such damage often accelerates post thinning, a reminder to those considering re-spacing broadleaf plantations established during the 1990s.

As part of a wider project on squirrels being undertaken by NUIG and funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, an attempt to quantify the extent of damage caused by bark stripping will be made during 2013 and 2014. Foresters, woodland owners and the general public are asked to participate and to submit details of sites where they have observed bark stripping to

It would be most helpful if details on location (½” OS sheet number; nearest town/village); species and age are given, in addition to the contact address/phone number of the person submitting a return.

Forest management tips: the importance of formative shaping

The old saying goes “a good start is half the work” and this is certainly true if you want to grow quality broadleaf trees.

Shaping is the process of removing forks and very large competing side branches in order to produce long straight lengths of timber for a high value market.

Forking may be caused by exposure, frost, animal damage, insects or diseases. Your crop should be checked regularly. It is easier and cheaper to shape when branches are light. It is not necessary to remove light side branches. Shaping is a requirement for the payment of the second instalment grant at year 4 for broadleaf plantations. The best time to shape broadleaf trees is highlighted below:

Species           Best Period
for shaping       
2nd best period for
Oak December mid Winter
Ash June - August mid Winter
Beech June - August mid Winter
Sycamore June - August mid Winter
Cherry June - August None 

How to shape

Choose a single straight dominant shoot as a leader:

  • Correct forks by removing the weaker side of the fork
  • Remove excessively large side branches (larger than half the diameter of the main stem)
  • Remove other side branches only if they are competing with the main leading shoot
  • Shaping should start early if trees are growing vigorously
  • Use sharp, good quality secateurs. Loppers and a pruning saw may have to be used if shaping is left very late


  • More than one shaping is usually necessary
  • Do NOT remove more than 1/3 of the foliage
  • Only remove branches that may cause a defect
  • A correct cut is made just outside the branch collar without leaving a peg

Download this leaflet on formative shaping (PDF 0.5MB).

Source: HortiTrends News Room