A major bounce in new tree plantings is not envisaged in the wake of last week’s announcement of the €79.5m support package for growers impacted by ash dieback.

However, forestry companies expect more diseased plantations to be removed and replaced.

Teige Ryan of Wicklow-based nursery business None-So-Hardy said there was a “definite lift” in the level of enquiries for saplings over the last month in anticipation of last week’s announcement of the ash dieback support package.

Ryan predicted an upsurge in activity to remove and replant much of the 20,000ha of diseased ash plantations in the country that have not been removed to date.


“This package will bring in a lot more of the owners who haven’t availed of the Department of Agriculture schemes to remove diseased ash plantations,” Ryan said.

“We have to rectify the condition of existing ash dieback plantations, and the sooner we get on with that the better,” he added.

John Roche of Arbor Forestry Management said the ash dieback support was “certainly welcome” and would offer a bit of reassurance for growers.

However, he said the scheme was “lacking”, particularly in the replanting and maintenance grants available to landowners.

He pointed out that some of the sites where ash dieback plantations were cleared were “very dirty” and he questioned why the same level of planting grants was being offered on these lands as is available on bare land.

Darragh Little of Veon Forestry said there was “more hope than belief” in the forestry sector that the ash dieback package could give new plantings a significant lift.

It was up to the Department of Agriculture to restore and build confidence in the forestry sector, but this hasn’t happened, Little maintained.

He said the level of bureaucracy in the Department’s forestry service was “out of control”.

Meanwhile, Lorraine Woulfe of Tradeforus Forestry forecast that the ash dieback support package will have an impact on the market for standing forests.


“Tradeforus Forestry has been receiving many enquiries from owners of plantations impacted by ash dieback, looking to sell,” Woulfe said.

“We think that this new scheme may change owners’ instinct to sell, which is good news for the owners, but unfortunate news for the investors who are considering buying these plantations,” she explained.