Forestry Commission Acts On New Tree Disease In Cumbria

News reports & important updates on tree surgeons.

Phytophthora pluvialis, a tree pathogen previously discovered in south west England, has been identified in Cumbria.

Woodland managers, landowners, the forest industry, and tree nurseries are being urged to remain vigilant following the discovery of the tree pathogen Phytophthora pluvialis in Cumbrian woodlands by the Forestry Commission (FC) and Forest Research (FR).

Following routine Forestry Commission plant health surveillance activities, the UK Chief Plant Health Officer confirmed the findings.

Phytophthora pluvialis is a fungus-like pathogen that has been identified as a pathogen of a variety of tree species, including western hemlock, Douglas fir, tanoak, and several pine species (in particular radiata pine). It has been reported to cause needle cast (browning and falling off of needles), shoot dieback, and lesions on the stem, branches, and roots.

While Phytophthora pluvialis has been detected on mature western hemlock and Douglas-fir trees in these locations, it is unknown whether the pathogen is directly responsible for the observed symptoms. Additional investigations are being conducted to ascertain whether additional factors are at work.

The Forestry Commission, Forest Research, and the Animal and Plant Health Agency are conducting additional surveillance and diagnostic analysis to gain a better understanding of the pathogen and to expeditiously implement any necessary control measures to halt its spread.

Nicola Spence, the Chief Plant Health Officer for the United Kingdom, stated:

As part of our well-established biosecurity protocol for tree pests and diseases, we are taking swift and robust action in response to this discovery of Phytophthora pluvialis.

I implore all sectors to join forces in combating this pathogen by monitoring the health of western hemlock and Douglas-fir trees. Lesions on the stem, branch, or roots are critical symptoms to look for. Any sightings should be reported to the Forestry Commission via the Forestry Commission’s online TreeAlert reporting portal.

In light of the recent discovery, the Forestry Commission will establish a demarcated area in Cumbria to help prevent accidental pathogen spread. A Notice will take effect on Friday, November 26th.

Additional information about tree pests and diseases, as well as how to identify them, can be found here.

Landowners are asked to notify TreeAlert of any suspect trees.

This article was originally published here.

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