Work is currently under way to remove several diseased ash trees from Ballinacarriga, Kilworth, on lands adjacent to the River Funcheon.

The tree removal work is expected to continue for several weeks, depending upon weather conditions. Once the trees are removed, the area will be restored.

Landowner Desmond Lucas told The Avondhu this week that he was instructed by the Department of Forestry to remove the trees, but said he intends to replace them with oak trees.

Chalara or Ash Dieback disease is a disease of ash trees caused by the fungus Hymenoscyphus fraxineus and it has spread rapidly across Europe in recent years.

The origins of the disease are still unknown, but scientists have suggested the disease may have been introduced to Europe from eastern Asia.

Ash trees affected by the disease suffer wilting foliage, crown dieback and bark lesions.

The disease can kill an infected tree directly as over time, necrotic lesions gradually encircle and permanently damage the phloem (the innermost layer of bark), which is the layer of living tissue that carries organic nutrients to the others parts of the plant, or indirectly by weakening the tree to the point where it becomes more susceptible, and succumbs more readily, to attacks by other pests or pathogens, especially Armillaria fungi or honey fungus.