Isle of Man Today- October 15, 2013
A disease that affects larch trees is continuing to ravage the island’s forestry, with about 50 hectares of trees felled and sweet chestnut, beech trees and garden shrubbery plants also affected.
The government has said that 50 per cent of the island’s larch population is now infected with the disease, phytophthora ramorum, also known as sudden oak death.
Area forester Jason Bolt said: ‘Sweet chestnut, beech and shrubbery plant species in gardens such as rhododendron have also been found to be infected in the island.’
Along with Dutch elm disease, phytophthora ramorum is one of two diseases affecting the island’s trees.
In addition, the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture remains worried about the threat of a third, ash dieback.
Senior forester John Walmsley said: ‘To date we have felled thousands of trees clear felling an area of approximately 50 hectares throughout the forest estate due to phytophthora ramorum.
‘A further 20 to 30 hectares will be felled in the coming months and plans are being drawn up to deal with the most recent infected areas identified from our 2013 aerial surveys.
‘In an effort to contain the disease, the department has been and is continuing the clearfelling of infected areas as they are identified and as soon as is practical.
‘The public are requested to follow basic precautions during the problem, such as keeping to footpaths if requested to do so, keeping dogs on leads when walking in woodland areas and cleaning footwear and their animals before visiting other sites.’