Pests and diseases
There are many threats today to veteran and ancient trees from introduced pests and diseases. The most well-known of these is probably Chalara Ash Dieback, but additional areas of concern are Acute Oak Decline, Phytophthoras and other diseases that are knocking on the shores of our islands including threats to sweet chestnut (blight) and plane trees (Plane Wilt).
The Ancient Tree Forum initially established a working group on Chalara Ash Dieback, which formulated a position statement on managing the threat to ancient and veteran ash trees from Chalara ash dieback .
The group now has a wider tree biosecurity remit and has become the Pest and Disease working group. In December 2014 it made a response to the government’s consultation on a Pest Risk Analysis of Acute Oak Decline.
One of the ways in which the Ancient Tree Forum raises awareness of pests and diseases affecting veteran trees is by publishing articles in the specialist press. These include:
- Article on powdery mildew of oak by Ancient Tree Forum co-optee David Lonsdale, published in the Arb magazine in the Spring of 2016,
- Article on oak jewel beetle and acute oak decline by Ancient Tree Forum trustee Keith Alexander, published in the Arb magazine in the summer of 2015,
Further resources about some of the pests and diseases affecting British trees have been produced by Observatree, a partnership project led by Forest Research, the research agency of the Forestry Commission.