New east Scotland findings of tree disease

Forestry Commission Scotland’s annual early summer tree health aerial surveys have detected new outbreaks of Phytophthora ramorum at 24 sites across Scotland. 

The early detection of the disease has allowed for swift action to help limit the impact of the disease at the affected sites and surrounding areas.

Although the majority of new findings are near sites of previously known infections, seven sites in Angus and Perthshire – an area out-with the most suitable climatic area for this disease – and some are over 10km away from known existing infections.  All appear to be highly localised in extent.

These findings include the first known P. ramorum on larch both in the Cairngorms and the Loch Lomond & The Trossachs National Parks – both infected sites are close to the respective Park boundary.

Dr Anna Brown, Forestry Commission Scotland’s Head of Tree Health, said;

“Our helicopter surveillance & monitoring programme has ensured early detection and action is already underway via statutory measures. 

“Furthermore, our system for managing disease outbreaks, including handling of statutory measures and impact arising from increased harvesting of infected trees, is well embedded and understood by the sector. 

“Therefore, we would not expect these findings to disproportionately impact on businesses or any negative reaction from industry.”

The recent detections might be an early indication that the wet and windy conditions experienced during summer/early autumn 2015 might have led to a ‘jump’ of the disease into areas normally less favourable for P.ramorum.  Further aerial surveillance currently underway will help to determine whether there is a new trend of spread rather than the sort of isolated occurrences previously seen. 

The detection of P.ramorum in lower risk areas also highlights the importance of all woodland owners remaining vigilant and implementing the good biosecurity practices recommended in Forestry Commission Scotland’s ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign.

Dr Brown added;

“For the health of our woodlands and forests, it is important to help prevent the spread of tree pests and diseases, and that means that everyone adopts good biosecurity practice.

“Our ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign illustrates how simple this can be – just take the time to clean boots, kit and tools of mud and forest debris before you travel into a woodland.”

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  3. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  4. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.