Help us keep Britain's trees and plants healthy


One of the recently arrived diseases , Phytophthora kernoviae © Stephen Robson

One of the recently arrived diseases , Phytophthora kernoviae


The outbreak of Ash Dieback, Chalara fraxinea, and other increases in the findings of new plant pests and diseases has made it clear that Britain's environment with its rich diversity of trees, plants and food crops are under an ever increasing threat.

The ease in which we can all move ourselves and our commodities around the globe provides perfect opportunities for new unwanted pests and diseases to do the same; also climate change will create the conditions for even more pest and disease activity.

All the following are new pests and diseases (for the UK) and are all currently threatening or impacting on our plants, both in the natural environment and our gardens:

  • Ash Dieback
  • Fuchsia Gallmite
  • Acute Oak Decline
  • Phytophthora ramorum
  • Red Band Needle Blight
  • Horse Chestnut Bleeding Canker
  • Horse Chestnut Leaf Miner

Some of which you may already have come across.

But on the horizon we face other challenges including the threat from Emerald Ash Borer, Asian and Citrus Longhorn Beetles and Pine Processionary Moth.

This increasing threat makes it important we all take a more active role in protecting trees and plants health.

Some plant diseases produce microscopic spores, which can infect healthy plants when they come into contact with them. The spores are washed into the soil and leaf litter by rain, where they can be picked up on footwear, on the feet of animals (e.g. dogs, horses), and on the tyres of bikes or vehicles. In addition, moving infected plants or cuttings to uninfected areas can also spread spores.

What you can do
There are a few simple steps you can take when visiting gardens or enjoying the countryside:

DO: keep to marked paths – to help reduce the chances of picking up soil and plant debris (which could be carrying plant diseases) on footwear.
DO: pay attention to any site notices – infected or sensitive areas may be signed or cordoned off.
DO: clean your footwear – remove soil and plant debris from footwear after each visit.
DO: clean the tyres of bikes and vehicles - after off-roading, to remove soil and plant debris.
DO: avoid taking plants or cuttings – you could inadvertently introduce infected material or pests into your own garden or nearby countryside.
DO: monitor the health of your own plants and be aware of what to look out for

Want to know more?
If you would like more information on current plant health issues please contact:

The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA)
Telephone: 01904 465625

The Forestry Commission
Telephone 0845 3673787