Scotland

Larch killer disease spreads to new areas

Forest Image copyright Isobel Cameron
Image caption The pathogen can kill or severely damage larch trees

A deadly pathogen that kills larch trees has been discovered in seven new locations across Argyll and Stirling, Forest Enterprise Scotland has warned.

The agency said almost 20 hectares of forest would have to be felled to try to stop the disease spreading.

Phytophthora ramorum is a fungus-like pathogen that can kill or severely damage larch trees.

Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) is also asking woodland visitors to help prevent the spread of tree disease.

It called on people to brush mud and forest debris from boots, walking poles and bike tyres when leaving and entering wooded areas.

All the new sites are close to existing infected sites.

FES confirmed the locations as:

  • Craigbrack Dam - 1ha of woodland to be felled
  • Barnacabber - 3ha of larch in mixture with other species that may also have to be felled
  • Dun Daraich - About 1ha of woodland to be felled
  • White Bay - 8ha will be cleared and removed
  • Toll a' Bhuic - About 2ha to be felled
  • Kilmun - 0.3ha of larch to be felled
  • Meall nan Saighdear - 4ha of larch to be felled

Fraser McDonald, a forester with the FES team in Cowal said: "Everyone has a part to play in helping prevent the spread of tree diseases and it's simply a matter of making sure that you arrive at a forest with clean boots, bike wheels - and even dog's paws.

"Our Keep it Clean campaign promotes good biosecurity practice and explains that it only takes a few minutes to brush off any mud or forest debris from boots, walking poles or bike tyres.

"It may not seem much but tree diseases can be carried from site to site in mud or on twigs leaves and others forest debris, so those few minutes can make a big difference."

Mr McDonald said Scotland's forestry was a valuable resource for recreation and the economy of Scotland.

He added: "It's important that everyone does there bit to look after Scotland's forests and help to prevent the spread of tree diseases."

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