Larch trees on the Forestry Commission’s Public Forest Estate in Cumbria (including the Lake District) are being affected by Ramorum disease, caused by Phytophthora ramorum (P. ramorum).
Japanese larch dieback caused by P. Ramorum
Visitors may see healthy looking larch trees being felled. This is because the disease can be present in trees without showing obvious symptoms and it is important to ensure that all infected trees are felled.
Larch trees cover nearly 3200 hectares (5.5%) of total forest area in Cumbria. The Forestry Commission’s Public Forest Estate manages just over 40% of this larch.
Treatment and control
Unfortunately the only effective means of control is to fell or kill affected trees quickly before they produce spores and spread the disease to other trees and plants.
The Forestry Commission will restock areas of the Public Forest Estate where trees have been felled. This provides an opportunity to diversify the species and age structure of the forest and to continue its management for recreation, timber, wildlife and for the many businesses operating in partnership with Visitor Centres in the area. Using increased knowledge about climate change, the Forestry Commission will take the opportunity that felling provides to plant a more diverse range of species.
Using the felled timber
The timber from infected larch trees can still be used and the Forestry Commission’s operations team is working with timber customers to manage the removal and sale of infected material.
How you can help
If you are visiting or working in affected woodland, please help to slow the spread of plant diseases by taking some simple precautions.
- Stay on marked paths
- Scrape mud, soil and debris off your boots and tyres before leaving
- Brush leaves, twigs and debris off your clothes and vehicles (and the dog!) before leaving
- Don’t remove wood or plant material from the woodland
- Follow instructions on forest signs
More information about the local effects of the disease can be found in our Ramorum disease in Cumbria leaflet
Further facts and background information on Phytophthora ramorum
What do other visitors say?
5 StarsMarney Harris, 19/Oct/2014
I am very concerned about the felling for Phytopthera on Claife near Latterbarrow, Cumbria near the village of High Wray LA"22 0JQ, as we have a population of red squirrels which I have observed in the larch plantations there. I wonder where they will go once the felling has taken place. Have you taken any measures to protect them? Also I would like to see stronger bio-security facilities and information for the public, especially as this is a very popular walking and cycling area all year round. Such as very clear signage,information and boot/wheel washes. A party I was with thought it ok to wash boots in the stream! I told them this was not advisable as the stream would convey the pathogen. Also the paths that were closed did not state why clearly nor describe the dangers of conveying the pathogen. I would appreciate it if you could get back to me, and also send information that I could give to my holiday cottage customers at High Wray.
Forestry Commission Response
We have passed your concerns to our Area Forester who will get in touch with you via e-mail. We will send you some information leaflets for your cottage customers.