Government to introduce measures to control newly discovered tree disease in Wales
The Welsh Government has confirmed it is introducing new measures from next week to control the spread of a tree disease that was first identified in Europe in October 2021.
Phytophthora pluvialis is a fungal-like pathogen known to affect a variety of tree species including western hemlock, Douglas fir and several pine species, and was first in detected Wales last month on the Woodland Estate in Dyfi Forest, Gwynedd.
Two further outbreaks have now been confirmed at sites in Crychan, Llandovery and to the south of the original site in Dyfi forest.
Natural Resources Wales is undertaking surveys in these areas to understand the extent of the spread of the disease which causes needle cast – where needles turn brown and fall off – as well as shoot dieback and lesions on the stem, branches and roots and to establish if other potentially susceptible species could become impacted.
The first case of Phytophthora pluvialis in Europe was detected in Cornwall last October and since then further cases have been confirmed in Devon, and Cumbria in England and near Loch Carron in Scotland.
To limit the spread of the disease a control notice will come into force on 26 January around the site of the original finding to restrict the movement of materials capable of spreading the disease.
Responding to the arrival of the disease in Wales, Climate Change Minister Julie James said: “We will continue to work with partner agencies across the UK to share information, experience and understanding to ensure a joint approach to monitoring and managing the situation.
“This will help inform which control measures are appropriate and the potential impact this pathogen could have on the landscape and the forestry sector.”
A symptom guide has also been prepared that provided more information on Phytophthora pluvialis and people are being urged to report sightings via the TreeAlert online portal.
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