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Do you clean your boots between visits to the countryside?

Wednesday 29 August 2018

Doing so regularly could help reduce the spread of tree diseases caused by introduced fungi, bacteria and viruses which can be transported in mud from one woodland to the next.

Over the last decade a number of new tree diseases have emerged with Ash dieback, Chalara, a fungal disease that develops on fallen leaf stalks of ash and is then dispersed in the wind and soil. Phytophthora ramorum is another soil disease that has led to the felling of large areas of larch, mainly in the west, to try to reduce its spread. It has an alternative host species of Rhododendron ponticum, so clearance of Rhododendron can limit the spread of this disease to trees. Phytophtora diseases also affects juniper, now a rare plant in the Chilterns. Box blight is another fungal disease that can be spread from one plant to another on contact. The Chilterns has some important box woods, so we don’t want to introduce infection to these sites, perhaps from gardens.

ash dieback JM 035
An example of Ash dieback 

A major economic concern in Europe is from a bacteria called Xylella fastidiosa which causes disease in a wide range of woody plants such as grapevine, citrus and olive plants, several species of broadleaf trees, and many herbaceous plants – so we need to keep this disease out of the country by not importing trees or garden plants from infected areas. 

For more information about how to identify and manage tree pests and diseases visit the Forestry Commissions website here: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pestsanddiseases

For more information about how to protect our trees and plants from pests and diseases, visit: https://www.forestry.gov.uk/pdf/Poster_countrysidebiosecurity2012.pdf/$FILE/Poster_countrysidebiosecurity2012.pdf 

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