More than 80,000 trees across Northern Ireland have been destroyed to curb the spread of ash dieback disease.
According to Agriculture Minister Michelle O'Neill, the disease has been confirmed at more than 90 sites. Some 3,000 sites have been inspected since the outbreak of the virulent plant disease was first detected here in November 2012.
Of these confirmed outbreaks, 63 were found in forestry plantations, three in nursery or trade sites, nine in urban amenity settings, three on roadsides, 10 in private gardens and four in hedgerows.
No confirmed reports show the disease infecting mature ash trees in Northern Ireland.
The minister urged members of the public to be aware of the symptoms of ash dieback (Chalara fraxinea) and report any sightings to DARD.
She said: "Over 3,000 site inspections have been carried out since the disease was first found here in November 2012.
"To date more than 90 sites have been confirmed with ash dieback infection. There have been no confirmed reports of C. fraxinea infecting mature ash trees in the north," she said. "As a result of the ongoing surveillance, approximately 86,000 young trees have been destroyed to prevent the disease spreading to the wider environment.
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