Phytophthora pluvialis

The disease affecting a range of trees including western hemlock, tanoak, Douglas-fir, and several pine species has now been found in parts of the UK including Cornwall, Devon, Cumbria, North-West Scotland, and Wales.

In September 2021, Euroforest Manager, Sam Hawkey from the Devon office harvested and placed at roadside 3000 tonnes of timber affected by phytophthora pluvialis.

Euroforest - Phytophthora pluvialis

Phytophthora pluvialis is a fungus like pathogen known to affect a range of trees including western hemlock, tanoak, Douglas-fir, and several pine species (pinus radiata, pinus patula and pinus strobus).  The disease was first reported in 2013 in Oregan, USA and has recently been found in the UK;  In September 2021 Phytophthora pluvialis was discovered in Cornwall where it was found to be affecting mature western hemlock and Douglas-fir trees.  The disease has now been found in other parts of the UK in Devon, Cumbria, North-West Scotland, and Wales.

The symptoms of Phytophthora pluvialis are needle cast, shoot dieback, and lesions on the stem, branches and roots.  

Example of Phytophthora pluvialis lesions on a tree stem (Source: www.gov.uk/guidance/phytophthora-pluvialis, Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.)

Forest authorities are urging everyone to remain vigilant for signs of the pathogen and to report any potential sightings in the UK to the Forestry Commission using the TreeAlert online portal.

Any sightings in Northern Ireland should be reported to TreeCheck.

In order to stop the spread of Phytophthora pluvialis, demarcated area have been put in place and associated notices are being enforced.

The notices prohibit the movement of any wood, isolated bark, live, felled or fallen trees, and their fruit, seeds, leaves and foliage from within the demarcated area of the genus tsuga, pseudotsuga, pinus and notholithocarpus.    

All harvesting sites within the demarcated areas require a movement authorisation from Plant Health FC which is granted following an onsite inspection confirming no presence of the pathogen.  If the inspection does highlight symptoms of Phytophthora pluvialis a statutory plant health notice (SPHN) may be authorised with bio-security requirements following further inspections.  Any materials from a demarcated area must be processed at an authorised processor, regardless of the presence of symptoms.  Felling of susceptible material within these areas has also been restricted unless the Forestry Commission have received a written notification in advance.

Example of Phytophthora pluvialis lesions on a tree stem (Source: www.gov.uk/guidance/phytophthora-pluvialis, Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.)

Forest authorities are urging everyone to remain vigilant for signs of the pathogen and to report any potential sightings in the UK to the Forestry Commission using the TreeAlert online portal.

Any sightings in Northern Ireland should be reported to TreeCheck.

In order to stop the spread of Phytophthora pluvialis, demarcated area have been put in place and associated notices are being enforced.

The notices prohibit the movement of any wood, isolated bark, live, felled or fallen trees, and their fruit, seeds, leaves and foliage from within the demarcated area of the genus tsuga, pseudotsuga, pinus and notholithocarpus.    

All harvesting sites within the demarcated areas require a movement authorisation from Plant Health FC which is granted following an onsite inspection confirming no presence of the pathogen.  If the inspection does highlight symptoms of Phytophthora pluvialis a statutory plant health notice (SPHN) may be authorised with bio-security requirements following further inspections.  Any materials from a demarcated area must be processed at an authorised processor, regardless of the presence of symptoms.  Felling of susceptible material within these areas has also been restricted unless the Forestry Commission have received a written notification in advance.

Demarcated-Area-No.-4,-England-Euroforest-Ltd

Demarcated Area No. 6, England, Click here

Demarcated Area No. 7, England, Click here

Demarcated Area No.1, Scotland, Click here

Euroforest & Phytophthora pluvialis

Following the finding of Phytophthora pluvialis in September 2021 in Cornwall on the Forestry England estate within the Glyn Valley the first SPHN for Phytophthora pluvialis was issued.   The site was harvested and cleared by Euroforest manager, Sam Hawkey, from the Devon office, the timber was harvested and placed to roadside for inspection by Forestry England before a decision is made on how the timber can be processed and marketed by Forestry England to customers who can comply with the phytho-sanitary requirements.  In this initial felling 3000 tonnes of Western Hemlock was clear felled;  A further SPHN is expected in this locality and Euroforest will undertake this felling work again for Forestry England if required.

The situation is evolving as more evidence is gathered by the Forestry Commission about the spread of Phytophthora pluvialis and the risks to the forest industry.  More information can be found here www.gov.uk/guidance/phytophthora-pluvialis.

What can the landowner expect when contacting Euroforest:

Western-Hemlock-sawlogs-Euroforest-Ltd

Stack of 4.9m Western Hemlock sawlogs waiting for a decision on how the timber can be processed

mature-Hemlock-trees-felled-Euroforest-Ltd

A bank of mature Hemlock trees felled to ride to be processed by the harvester

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Western Hemlock sawlogs  at roadside waiting for a decision on how the timber can be processed.

Cox-Forestry-operators-Euroforest-Ltd.

Cox Forestry operators stopped to plan harvesting operations