Ash Dieback Disease

What is it?

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


What does it look like?

The wide range of symptoms associated with ash dieback includes:

  • foliage wilt – black/brown leaves may be retained;
  • shoot dieback with brownish to orange discolouration, often multiple shoots; and,
  • elongated angular stem lesions, often diamond shaped.

Foliage wilt Shoot dieback Elongated angular stem lesions
Note, symptoms similar to the above may be caused by other factors, e.g. frost.


How can it spread?

Many details associated with the biology of Chalara fraxinea still remain unclear. However, it is likely that plants for planting and wood are pathways for spread over long distances and the disease may be introduced into Ireland through the imports of ash plants and wood, including firewood, from continental European countries.

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