Agency expert lists next big three tree health pest-and-disease threats

Emerald ash borer, pine processionary moth and sweet chestnut Cryphonectria parasitica are the next three biggest tree health concerns after last year's ash dieback crisis, according to Food & Environment Research Agency (FERA) head of plant health public engagement David Slawson.

Slawson, who is overseeing FERA's £95,000 Stop the Spread Chelsea show garden, said: "Ash is one threat but it's important we're aware of the general risk."

He added that he does not know how much the disease will spread this year but "raising awareness" at Chelsea will help to control it.

The chestnut disease came in during 2011 and has been found at two sites, while emerald ash borer is causing damage in North America and there have been findings in Moscow but is "not in the EU yet - it's on the radar".

He said oak processionary moth, for which the Forestry Commission aerial sprayed an area of woodland near Pangbourne in West Berkshire this month, is another big issue, as are Asian longhorn beetle and citrus longhorn beetle.

When asked about legislating against importing diseased plants, Slawson said the EU plant-health regime is being reviewed and Defra has recommendations. He added that more homegrown markets could be created after recent disease scares.

"The cost of the garden is a lot of money but the cost of pests and diseases coming into the country is £1.7bn a year"said Slawson, adding that wood-boring insects cost the US £2.2bn a year.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Read These Next

How are employers in horticulture developing their offer to staff?

How are employers in horticulture developing their offer to staff?

Thanks to a skills shortage in horticulture, employers are working hard to enhance their offer to new recruits -- from training to profit-share schemes. Rachel Anderson reports on developments at six firms in very different branches of the industry.

Business Planning - Be prepared for living wage rise

Business Planning - Be prepared for living wage rise

Battery blowers Reviewed: will battery blowers go the distance?

Battery blowers Reviewed: will battery blowers go the distance?

Fed up of having to start and restart blowers? Then there is the refuelling, mixing the two-stroke and carrying a spare can. Once running, emissions can be unpleasant and noise from a petrol engine demands earmuffs be worn. An alternative is battery power.

Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

HW Top UK Arboriculture Businesses

See our exclusive RANKING of arboriculture businesses by annual turnover. 


Build your business with the latest public sector tenders covering landscape, arboriculture, grounds care, production and kit supplies. To receive the latest tenders weekly to your inbox sign up for our Tenders Tracker bulletin here.


Find out more about the outstanding parks, gardens and arboricultural projects and teams that became our Custodian Award 2018 winners.

Jeremy Barrell On...

Jeremy Barrell

Tree consultant Jeremy Barrell reflects on the big issues in arboriculture.

Products & Kit Resources