Observatree tree disease early warning system

View looking up the trunk of a tree

Our trees are under unprecedented threat from both new and established pests and diseases.

Help us spot tree disease this summer! We want you to look out for three key pests and diseases which are threatening some of the UK’s most iconic tree species:

•    Chalara ash dieback – ash
•    Sirococcus blight of cedar – cedar
•    Oriental chestnut gall wasp – sweet chestnut
Toolkits and how to guides are here.

An exciting four year project, which began in autumn 2013, to set up a new UK tree health early warning system using citizen science.
Harnessing the power of citizen science is critical to the project’s overall success. This is being achieved in two ways:
  1. Firstly, the project aims to encourage tree health professionals and people actively involved with trees to look out for and report any tree pest or disease sightings at the earliest opportunity. In doing this, the chances of eliminating or controlling future outbreaks can be maximised.
  2. The project has established a core network of over 200 trained Observatree volunteers.Their role is to support Government tree health officers and scientists by undertaking a range of survey work and assisting with the processing and verifying of tree health reports received.
Observatree is:
  • promoting increased surveillance of tree pests and diseases
  • encouraging all reporting of tree health concerns via Tree Alert (TreeCheck in Northern Ireland)
  • providing a UK-wide network of over 200 trained specialist volunteers
  • sharing information and resources on key tree pests and diseases
  • researching similar European tree health systems to share best practice

Visit the Observatree website to find out more or sign up for future updates.

Observatree partner logo


Led by Forest Research, the research agency of the Forestry Commission, the project works in collaboration with Fera, the Woodland Trust, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, the Welsh Government and ourselves.