What we are doing
As tree diseases and pests pose an increased threat to our valuable woods and trees, we are at the forefront of the fight.
With overseas imports considered one of the biggest contributors to the spread of tree pests and diseases in the UK, we are committed to ensuring that every tree we plant and provide has been entirely sourced and grown within the UK and can be traced right back to the seed, as well as encouraging others to buy responsibly.
Preventing the spread
Potential tree pests and diseases may be present, although not always visible. When amongst woods and trees, you can help prevent the further spread of tree pests and diseases by following a few practical steps.
Currently, we are also lobbying for improved biosecurity at our borders and greater surveillance of pests and diseases.
Protecting our landscapes
Tree pests and diseases have the potential to cause significant gaps in our landscape, with the loss of trees in the wider countryside, fields, hedgerows and roadsides posing the biggest threat to wildlife. Planting alternative native trees will help to make our landscape more resilient, and to help we’re offering advice and support on where is good to plant new native trees and why.
Disease Recovery Tree Packs
We are supporting landowners to mitigate the risk of tree pests and diseases with a trial scheme of subsidised and specially tailored Disease Recovery Tree Packs. Containing a mix of alternative native broadleaf species, the packs are ideal for planting hedgerows, field corners and small copses, and help towards maintaining a diverse landscape more capable of bouncing back from threats.
Unfortunately, a number of our own sites have fallen victim to tree disease.
Ash dieback has sadly been confirmed on several of our sites:
- Heartwood (near St Albans in Hertfordshire)
- Pound Farm (near Great Glenham in Suffolk)
- Hucking Estate (near Maidstone, Kent)
In response, we are putting measures in place to try and safeguard our woods and trees, and most recently supported a major field visit and discussion meeting with land managers, local authorities and government agencies at Pound Farm.
Wentwood Forest, near Newport in South Wales, is our worst-affected site. Our aim is to rescue the surviving elements of the ancient woodland ecosystem there. Following careful thinning of the conifer stands, we have since planted new native species which has so far resulted in an abundance of ground flora.
We are not restricting visitors to our sites, but we are encouraging people to take proactive measures to reduce further spread of the disease.
Funded by the EU’s Life programme, Observatree is an early warning system which aims to protect UK trees, woods and forests from existing or new pests and diseases through early detection. It is a partnership project led by Forest Research and we are partners along with the Forestry Commission, Fera Science Ltd and the National Trust.