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Fight against disease that devastated our larch trees goes on

The mighty larch

WOODLAND owners across Scotland are being urged to check their larches for disease that devastated the trees in south-west Scotland and report any findings. The message from Scottish Forestry comes as the agency restarts its aerial and ground surveys for Phytophthora ramorum, a tree disease which kills larch. Due to physical distancing measures, the helicopter surveys will be run at a reduced capacity therefore drones and satellite imagery will be used to gather extra information on the extent of the disease. Scottish Forestry tree health staff have been out starting ground-based tree health inspections since the start of June. Welcoming the restart of survey work, Environment Minister Mairi Gougeon said: “Through the Scottish Government's roadmap, outdoor work such as forest survey and site visits are able to restart in a careful and considered way. “Although Covid-19 prevented Scottish Forestry staff from site inspections during the lockdown, desk work and planning still continued. It's good news that important work such as outdoor tree health inspections and surveys are now underway again.” in 2013 the south west of Scotland was the most affected area by far and was then classed as a Management Zone. The disease was too advanced to stop its spread within the area so eventually it was decided to focus efforts on tackling new outbreaks of the disease in other parts of Scotland. To slow down the rate of spread, any infected larch trees are felled, along with any additional larch trees in a 250 metre radius. The timber can still be used as long as a licence to handle it is obtained. The disease can be spread in mud or tree needles stuck to footwear, bikes and vehicles or even on dogs' paws.

<< back Published: 25 Jun 2020, 10:31

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