Forestry Commission logo

Biosecurity - guidance for arborists

People working in arboriculture are a high-risk group for the spread of pests and disease.

However, they can also spot outbreaks early. Taking action at the right time can be critical to managing an outbreak.

We have worked closely with the Arboricultural Association and the London Tree Officers' Association (LTOA) to develop this guidance.

Think kit

Clean soil and debris from boots, clothing, ropes, saws and other equipment before leaving any site. Regularly wash and dry ropes.

Clean and disinfect chainsaws and other cutting tools as part of routine maintenance.

Ensure machinery is cleaned regularly, and positioned so as not to spread material around the site.

Think trees

Develop relationships with nurseries you can trust to help you source plants responsibly.

Keep records of purchases and supplies, and monitor plants for signs of ill health.

Report suspect symptoms to us using Tree Alert.

Think transport

Remove any build-up of soil and debris on vehicles, including cabs and footwells, before leaving any site.

Use proper off-site wash-down and disinfection facilities regularly. Make a clean start each day.

For higher risk situations good biosecurity is always important, but there are cases where you might need to be more rigorous, such as when:

  • there’s a disease or pest present; or
  • there’s an existing Statutory Plant Health Notice in place.

In these cases, follow any specialist guidance provided for that pest or disease.

If you must remove the infected material for safety reasons:

  • keep it separate from other arisings; and
  • do not use it for mulch or firewood.

Dispose of infected material by deep burial, or incineration, either on site or at a licensed handling facility.

Last updated: 12th December 2017