Wednesday, 21 November 2012


October 2012. If we lose our trees then we lose our bird populations; they cannot live on the ground. If so then insects have a free run. If only a tiny percentage of them start to carry blood borne pathogens into humans by bites etc, as they are increasingly doing to animals, then we also lose our smirk and grin. Such diseases have the possibility to harm us like no terrorist bomb ever could. Life on earth suits insects best and they seem destined to win the bio-struggle. This too has long been predicted. Many "simple" indigenous people, adored insects as being divine. Many modern scientists predicated this too, but they were silenced by industry and political correctness; constant relentless growth; either economic or among human populations was considered divine instead. But in about 20 years if the older warnings become reality; we will have to change. The ground work has already been done and the results just takes time. Then will we see the reality? Without us; without the swarms of unthinking destructive people, Gaia will slowly recover and she will work well with the smaller many legged things. Man is the pest!

I received this from English Forestry yesterday:
“The disease cannot spread at the moment. The scientific expert group concluded last week that it spreads either from spores on the leaves travelling on the wind, which only occurs over the summer, or through infected stock.” The latest information is available on the Forestry Commission website at:

And then there’s this; the root cause of all ills; reckless human population growth!.

Sunday, 11 November 2012


Tara Beech
                                     Tara Ash Stand

                                     Tara Young Ash In Hedge That Was Cut.

Listening And Wondering? 
Just now I am listening to Drivetime; RTE Radio 1. Its mid July 2014 and we are in the middle of a heatwave. They are talking about heat, drought and how cattle make for the cool shelter of the hedges as the day heats up. Poetic stuff, RTE stuff, for city people maybe... but what possible shade and shelter from the sun can animals find now in our hedges, sheared and stumped as they are by our governments misnamed environmental schemes. How can such hedges provide shade or shelter or safety for anything now; either birds, wildlife or cattle. How can they hold water at their roots and base, as they always did, thus ensuring against drought, how can they provide shade for anything, even humans as they did for centuries when allowed grow and billow out naturally? Is it not time to beak another taboo and expose this hedge cutting/hedge destruction as environmental madness?
Clauses. Listen in as our politicians, waffle on about how Ireland has the best environmental safeguards in Europe, how they have people on the ground, how so much is protected etc. Listen in often as they quote the restraints included in both our Wildlife and Forestry Acts, the two primary pieces of legalisation we have for environmental protection. These acts do have a lot about what you cannot do; but seldom do you hear about the opt out clauses, the pieces of writings on what you can do! These "opt outs", are tiny and written in legal speak and are inserted into these acts for the sake of farming and business. They allow just about anything be done, if done “under the normal course of farming, forestry, road building or under health and safety needs”. Such clauses are small, hard to find and often difficult to understand, yet they are so broad in practice that they have the effect of making all the other stuff about restraint, care and safeguard, null and void. This means that in reality there is little if any protection for natural wild growth, habitat or the things that needs this. So we ae really allowed to cut, remove and flail with glee!

Consider these: A huge oak tree, 300 years old, healthy, disease free and standing 30 meters from a building is protected under the 1946 Forestry Act and must have a protection order placed on it, while a person who wishes to fell it, seeks and obtains a felling licence. Or it can be felled under the normal course of farming, without question. It can also be felled if the remains of a hut is nearer it than 30 meters to it, as such are in most cities and towns. It can also be deemed unsafe and felled at will. That huge Oak tree in reality is at the mercy of anyone’, thats our law.

FSC. A wood, billowing out green and full of both nesting birds and protected wildlife in reproduction times is covered and protected by our Wildlife Act 2001. It is protected to a degree that should make us proud; but it too can be felled if done under the normal course of forestry. Nothing can be done about that. Coillte for instance did just that at Lismullen in 2011. They also use the FSC certificate when selling the wood, a certificate that proves the wood was felled and harvested in an environmental way.

Hedges. Hedges; old, healthy and the repository of much of our flora and fauna are habitats of immense value. They are a means of soil and water retention, they provide shade and shelter, food supply, nesting and resting places and they give our land the green look it is re-known for. They too are protected under both acts but these too can be removed under the normal course of farming or under health and safety laws. Indeed a whole landscape of these can now be removed totally, incrementally and yearly, if done under the New Farm Measures introduced by Irish Government Ministers Simon Coveney and Phil Hogan in 2011. This is considered now as a normal course of farming!

An avenue of great Beech Trees can be protected and cherished by everyone, but they can be removed too by a developer who buys the property they stand on, if he can find someone who determines that the trees are diseased. That person needs no qualification other than to term themselves an Aborist. He needs prove “diseased” to no one. A training and degree in Arboriculture does not exist in Ireland and it seems it never will. Such a study might hinder all of the above from happening. This happened all through the Celtic Tiger everywhere.

Tree protection orders can be placed on trees of importance and they sometimes are but again many of these trees are subject to the above clauses and can be removed as fast as the protection orders can be removed, if deemed unsafe etc. The National Botanic Gardens have been doing this regularly.
The Emerald Isle; that’s us!

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ash Die Back.

Ash Dieback has been in Europe since before 2002. Most tree people knew and that it would spread too; fungal diseases do that. They expected though, that European governments would treat such an environmental threat with urgency. The reverse happened and so the disease has spread. Recently the UK authorities have held a series of crises meetings and belatedly promised to do all possible to halt or slow it. Tony Kirkham, of Kew Gardens, has said that a complete ban was needed on imports of any plants that threatened a species, and a one-year quarantine was needed for all plants coming into Britain. Prof Clive Brasier, a UK plant pathologist specializing in tree diseases says the problem is “trade at any cost” and pointing to the dramatic increase in damaging plant pathogen, he said that the UK is now in danger of losing much of its historic tree and forest heritage because “the European plant security “door” is quite simply off its hinges”.
EU leaders though have remained as quite as mice about it all.
Despite what is happening borders remain open, free trade and free movement continues and the future of our ecology is imperiled as never before.
Imagine if the UK does manage to hold Charala Fraxenia at bay but are then faced with its spread from Southern Ireland, how do we answer that? In reality we are recklessly endangering our land and in the borderless world we live in, the lands of others too. The misnamed Reps scheme is a good example; it is a scheme in which our government pays farmers to mow their hedges down. They are doing this even now, despite the disease, and this is leaving row after row of broken mangled stumps where our old hedges used to be. Ash is a common plant in our hedgerows and Charala fraxenia has been found in Ireland, but in these flailed and mangled hedges it cannot be seen or noticed. The open wounds make ideal entry points for fungal spores and if a flail goes through one infected plant then it can spread the disease as it goes along. Under these conditions the spread becomes inevitable. Our government has also decided to import Ash timber regardless.
Ash were the Bile trees of antiquity, they fill our myths, they were held sacred once and the Fir Bile was an old name given to us. They make up about a third of our trees. Their loss will cause environmental damage on a scale never before see. It will affect habitat, bird populations, water retention and the look and feel of our land for decades to come. Defoliation causes climate change and will even affect our ability to breathe, yet in comparison to England we are almost silent about it, we remain ignorant and almost indifferent to the growing list of destructive pathogens coming into Europe, and into our land too; eventually. The model we follow is wrong and we have to change!
All hedge cutting must stop, all trade and movement must be controlled and our environment must be placed in the position of priority it deserves. Essentially we have to place the health and future of our land above the EU’s, mad open bordered dogma!
It is wrong to behave as though we do not need nature, it is wrong to hand our children a nightmare, it is wrong to allow the profits of a few to endanger all. Our politician have been informed about this, they all know; but they do little or nothing!
For decades Irish people have been kept in the dark about the dangers of environmental destruction, most have chosen ignorance and have elected politicians who promoted ignorance; and now these dangers, so long warned about and ignored, are here.
Please copy this, email it and post it on.

Photos: Ill Ash Trees In County Meath. October. 2012.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Free Ash Trade

Free Ash Trade.

The Irish Forestry Services:
have three press releases on view on their site regarding Ash Die Back.
Another one on the 02 November 2012.

Read them. They are written in the language of free trade and they use words like
“to minimize, to help reduce risk, a proportionate response” etc.
In these press releases Minister of State with responsibility for forestry, at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Shane McEntee TD clearly states that
“The scientific advice is that the movement of ash timber is a possible pathway of infection” and “While I understand plants are the highest risk in terms of a pathway for the disease, wood is also a risk etc, etc. 
Yet he does not ban the importation of Ash wood or even consider it; even as a  temporary measure. He is quite prepared to run the risk of the appalling spread of this disease for the benefit of the tiny few who gain from such a trade in timber.
Here again is the good of the few being placed above the good of the many, here is an elected politician endangering the common good, that he was elected and promised to protect.
There are also no photos, no advice no information on this disease on this site despite claims to the contrary. Unlike in England, where it has been declared a national emergency it seem not to matter one whit here.

Monday, 5 November 2012

O'Connell Street Trees.

When Dublin City Council removed the wonderful Plane Trees, while renovating the street 10 years ago, they promised everyone that the trees would be replaced and replanted. This was the promise they gave. Now most of the trees that they planted then have either been removed or had died. This happens in silence. Across at College Green they have removed trees to facilitate gas pipe laying, trees are being removed to facilitate the new Luas line and, and, and. New plantings will not work so these trees will not be replaced.

How Did It Happen

How did it happen. Ask how this damaging diseases spread through Europe might have been curtailed and you’ll open up a can of worms that raises troubling questions about the nature of free trade and its potentially devastating consequences for national plant biosecurity. Prof Clive Brasier, the highly regarded British plant pathologist specialising in tree diseases, neatly summed up the dilemma by describing it as trade at any cost, arguing that the UK’s independent plant health controls have been sacrificed in the interests of EU membership. Pointing to the dramatic increases in the frequency of damaging plant pathogen importations over the past decade, he suggested that the UK is now in danger of losing much of its historic tree and forest heritage. His blunt conclusion was that the European plant security “door” is, quite simply, off its hinges.
Fionnuala Fallon Irish Times. Saturday, October 13, 2012.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Hedge Destruction.

If we were to take all our hedges and pull them together, they would make up our largest broad leaf forest, taking up as much room in our land perhaps as the Rain Forests do in other lands. We show concern at the destruction of them, yet we allow our government finance farmers to remove our hedges or reduce them to stumps, thus removing habitat, food supply, resting places, carbon sequestration and seasonal beauty too, if anyone bothered to notice. We are faced with looming climate chaos, the need to re-afforest our earth is paramount, yet in Ireland we do the opposite; we defoliate recklessly and needlessly, removing the green places we and other things so desperately need. 
Is there an answer why?
How they should be!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Bark Damage

Once when doing a tree survey in inner city Dublin in 2006 I was amazed to see that over 80% of the trees surveyed had severe bark damage. Upon looking further at trees all across Dublin I seen the same problem. Its a result of bad planting, bad pruning, bad tree care, lawn mover damage, and, and, and.
These wounds allow pathogens like fungal diseases to enter and the tree will weaken and die. The life cycle of these trees will be short indeed. It costs money to plant them, it will mean more and more trees will have to be planted to replace them. Look carefully at almost all trees 10 years old and less now and you will see these same problems; then please ask your local politicians why is this allowed to happen and to continue, as it will. Those in charge of tree care should be ashamed.


I believe that Phenology was the main method of time recognition until recently.
The word is derived from old Greek and means "to show, to bring to light, to make appear".
Phenology is the study of appearances like flowering, fruiting, insect and bird births and of course the dates of bud burst and leaf fall. From earliest times to recently these have remained similar and were to be observed by all. At Samhain most life in the Northern Hemisphere appears to die; leaves, fruits and most if not all natural growth, so it was indeed a time of the dead. At Imbolc life begins to stir again and this is evident. The first lengthen of the days happens then. At Bealtaine life literally explodes and all growth accelerates and reaches its peak. At Lughnasa, all growth comes to fruition and tails off. Its the time when the earth produces abundance. Then it all dies again at Samhain. These are exact time of Phenology and may be the origins of the four old indigenous festivals.


Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Tara Trees

 Tara Ash

Fallen Leaf


Hedges being removed, needlessly in Meath, in September. These hedges are on a farm that produces beef cattle and so this is needless and will bring nothing to the farmer doing it. It is also under our laws legal

Derver Tree

Fungi on Rath Lugh

Letter to the Meath Chronicle

Sir: I was glad to read in your paper that Halloween is coming home back home to Meath; to The Hill of Ward: Tlachtgha, where the first Samhain fires were supposed to have been lit in memory of a Druids daughter. Myth says she was raped and killed on the hill there. The subsequent fires were lit from kindling’s of trees held sacred to the Druids and these kindling’s “an Bruane Samhain” certainly included Ash kindling’s, then as now our most common tree. Trees were at the heart of all of Meath’s many myths.
I wonder then why there is little or no mention of Charala Fraxinea, the disease now threatening our Ash Trees. It was confirmed in Limerick last week, in England too and it has caused the loss of half of the Ash trees in Denmark. The English approach when compared to Irelands could hardly be more different. There it has made the headlines in many of the English papers, The Woodland Trust has declared an emergency and England readies itself to introduce emergency measures like the banning of all Ash product and the biggest tree cull in history; yet in Ireland it is hardly even mentioned. Why? Most people still don’t know anything about it, nor about any measures being taken; if they exist? Ash is perhaps our most common tree, it has accompanied us through our long history, it was held sacred at Tara once, Ash trees were the Bile trees of antiquity; The Fir Bile was once a name given to us and the Ash served us well; materially, spiritually and environmentally so why then do we ignore its plight now? Do our political and trading elites wish ignorance upon us? I may be a bit green yes, but I believe that these trees would not do this to us... ignore a deadly peril approaching us; if they could.
November 2012.
John Farrelly.

The Ash In Danger

Bile. The Ash In Danger. The Irish bile were sacred ash trees, found around old Raths and wells and from them the Fir Bile, "men of the tree," were named. The lives of kings and chieftains appear to have been connected to them; under their shadow they were blessed and inaugurated.
The Religion Of The Ancient Celts. J. A. MacCulloch.

REPS. Go out into the Irish countryside, either now or after Christmas and you will see hedges being cut.
They are being cut under health and safety laws, without need mostly, or under the misnamed government REPS Scheme. Hedge cutting is almost a mania now. The chosen tool is often the flail mover, easy to buy and maintain, which leaves mangled broken stumps in its wake. Flails are banned under REPS guidelines, but used anyway? I have long tried to discover how reducing our hedgerows to stumps; how removing berry and food supply, removing shade, shelter, nesting sites and habitat, removing seasonal beauty etc can be considered environmental protection but I have failed.  Teagasc; the governing body that oversees REPS don’t reply. The Department Of Agriculture And Forestry do not reply. The Department Of The Environment do not reply. Most of our environmental groups and movements do not reply etc, etc.
In fairness to them all, I do not think they could reply. The truth is that The REPS Scheme is simply a way of funneling money to farmers, under the guise of a green coat.

Five. Prof Brasier says that since 2011, at least five new problems have appeared in Britain, each one of them potentially catastrophic in terms of tree health. Among these is Chalara fraxinea, another is the Asian longhorn beetle, which can infect many different species, including sycamore, elm, horse chestnut, willow, poplar, birch and some fruit trees. These beetles may arrive in wooden pallets and packing crates.
Another problem is the Oak Processionary Moth, Thaumetpooea processionea recently discovered in London trees. Then there is Sudden Oak Death and The bacteria killing Chestnut Trees. Also something is killing the great Plane trees too, there have been mayor deaths of Plane trees in France etc, etc.


European Plant Protection Agency

European Crop Protection Agency

Posts 2.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Plane Tree Problems!

Plane Tree Problems.
Our Plane trees suffered during the Summer of 2012. They were defoliated by an anthracnose disease. Did this weaken them? Did this leave them susceptible to further disease and illness? For months in Summer they suffered when they should have been tanking up on energy. What will be the result?