Sudden Oak Death affects Larch
Tá deireadh na gcoillte ar lár;
níl trácht ar Chill Chais ná ar a teaghlach
is ní bainfear a cling go bráth.
With the last of the woods laid low?
There’s no talk of Kilcash or its household
And its bell will be struck no more.
You may have seen where the March Mountain Bike O-event at Clonmore North, Cahir, Co. Tipperary had to be abandoned because Sudden Oak Death has been found in forests in the area. Appropriately enough, the Lament for Kilcash, on the slopes of Slievenamon, ostensibly deals with deforestation in the same area in an earlier era, though really referring to the decline of the Butlers, one of the old noble families of Munster.
Curiously, the disease in Ireland seems to affect Japanese larch, beech and Noble fir trees rather than oak, but it is caused byphytophthora ramorum, a disease related to potato blight, a fungal plant disease of which Irish people will be very aware for historical reasons.
The disease has been found in forests in Northern Ireland and has also had an impact on orienteering there. One problem with the disease is diagnosis: as it affects the larch, which loses its leaves in the winter even though it’s a conifer, it is not until the spring that the disease shows up when the tree fails to grow. Signs of ooozing sap and obvious wounds on the trees are also an indication that the disease has struck.
The disease is spread by wind and rain and trees which are close to laurel thickets seem to be particularly at risk. Previously it has affected rhododendrons rather than larch.
Nobody seems to know what to do to deal with it. One drastic solution is to fell the affected forest; another is to ban public access, either all together or to restrict people to roads: either of these could have a major effect on orienteering – remember foot and mouth disease in 2001?
Read what The Irish Times had to report on the disease last Augusthere. Visit Suddenoakdeath.org here.
On 31st March 2011 the Department of Agriculture issued this press release:
Barry Dalby of EastWest Mapping in Co. Wexford, has just published the fourth map of the Dublin/Wicklow mountains, a companion for his earlier maps of West Wicklow, Dublin/Wicklow and Lugnaquilla. All the maps are on Pretex waterproof paper at 1:30 000 scale with 10 m contours and retail at €9.95. They show a lot of historical and archaeological information as well as detail of more immediate importance to the walker, runner or cyclist. There’s a special offer for all four maps as a package. Details here.
On top of the twelve Days of O you’ve already read about, there was to be a new kid on the block: the Irish Sprint Championships at UCD, Belfield, in Dublin 4’s leafy suburbs, on the eve of the Irish Championships. However, permission from the college authorities is slow to come so the event won’t go ahead in April. Planner Laurence Quinn (GEN) hopes that the event will go on in the autumn, in association with a weekend of orienteering in Leinster. We’ve had Irish Sprint Championships before (two years ago at the Shamrock O-Ringen, the race was at Ross Island, Killarney in a small rocky complex forest with ancient copper mines; last year it was in the NUU Campus at Coleraine). This year – when it happens – will be more like the mixed urban terrain being commonly used for sprint-O. Watch this space! In the meantime, take a day’s rest between the JK and the Irish Championships.
Will entries for the JK at Easter top 2000? Today they are at 1956 with four days to go … Remember that the deadline for JK2011 entries is 31st March and for Relay entries is 7th April. Relay entries have to be made separately on the SportIdent website. See here for details.
Entries for the Irish Champs (both individual and relay) close on Friday 8th April: details here.
GEN run the Leinster Championships in Glencree next Sunday. The terrain is a mixture of steep forest, steep open craggy mountainside, and rough open not-so-steep mountain: hence the courses are rather shorter than you might expect, at least on paper. Start lists and event details are on the LOC2011 web site here.
The Shamrock O-Ringen 3-Day on the wonderful Sheep’s Head peninsula in West Cork is on the Bank Holiday weekend at the beginning of June and entries close on May 6th. However, because of parking and logistical issues, if the entries exceed what the organisers can deal with, entries will close before this, so enter early to be sure of a place! Details here.