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Policy on collecting foliage (Rhododendron etc.) from woodlands in Great Britain


1.     This note sets out the policy to be operated by the Forestry Commission and private growers in England, Scotland and Wales concerning the collecting and removing (for sale or otherwise) of foliage from host plants of two fungus-like pathogens, Phytophthora ramorum and P. kernoviae. The principal host plants of concern are Rhododendron spp., especially R. ponticum, but also other sporulating hosts, including Viburnum  and Camellia etc.  The policy will be effective from the date of publication until further notice.

2.     R. ponticum is one of the principal sporulating hosts which, when infected, can produce large numbers of inoculum (spores) that can transmit both pathogens to a wide range of other trees and shrubs.  A key disease control is to remove and destroy infected Rhododendron wherever it is found.  Care must therefore be taken to avoid accidental spread of the disease through the collection and removal of foliage for decorative or other uses.

3.     This policy applies to woodland owners and managers in England, Scotland and Wales, on whom a statutory notice has been served under the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005 to prevent the spread of P. ramorum or P. kernoviae.  All other woodland owners are strongly encouraged to apply this policy as best practice to minimise the risk of disease transmission into or out of their woodlands.

4.     Further information about P. ramorum and P. kernoviae, including links to host species and other controls to prevent the spread of the diseases they cause, can be found at .


5.     We have divided Great Britain into three disease management zones, as follows:

  • Zone 1 - comprising south west England and Wales, where woodland with infected Japanese larch has been confirmed;
  • Zones 2 and 3 - comprising the moderate and high-risk areas where infection has been found in nurseries, heathland and the wider environment, but where to date only one Japanese larch site has been found infected in western Scotland.

A map depicting the zones is available from the Outbreak and Risk Zones Maps page of this website. (Click on the map to bring up a zoom tool for enlarging it on screen.) The zone boundaries are not intended to be absolute, and woodland owners or managers, other than where a statutory notice is in force, should always exercise judgement and take into account the disease situation in the local area when deciding whether to allow foliage collection from their woodland.

6.     The boundaries of the zones will be kept under review and may be modified at any time depending on the outcome of surveys and confirmation of new infected sites.

Movement restrictions

7.     The following restrictions apply to the collection and removal of foliage of P. ramorum and P. kernoviae  host plants growing in woodland areas, except where restrictions have already been imposed by Statutory Notice:

  • Zone 1 - the removal of any host material from any woodland site shall not be permitted;
  • Elsewhere - the collection and removal of foliage is not restricted.


8.     Even if restrictions do not apply, all people cutting and removing foliage from woodland should be made aware of the biosecurity protocols recommended by the Forestry Commission Plant Health Service for cleaning and disinfecting footwear and cutting equipment before leaving any site. These are set out in Phytophthora control sites - Operational Precautions.  The biosecurity protocols should therefore be regarded as ‘good practice’ by all those engaged in these operations. Vehicle access on to sites should be limited to the minimum necessary, and operators should be encouraged to remove soil and plant debris from wheels and tyres before leaving the site. 

9.     Woodland owners and managers in Zone 1 are advised to erect notices informing visitors to the forest that P. ramorum (and/or P. kernoviae) has been found in the general area and warning against the taking of cuttings from any plants or trees in the woodland.

Further advice

10.    Further advice on any aspect of this guidance should be sought in the first instance from the:

Plant Health Service
Forestry Commission
Silvan House
231 Corstorphine Road
EH12 7AT

Tel: 0131 314 6414

10 December 2010