Kings Wood and Phytophthoraramorum

The tree disease, Phytophthoraramorum has been found at Kings Wood and the Woodland Trust has been served a Statutory Plant Health Notice by the Forestry Commission requiring us to manage the outbreak. This requires us to fell or kill the diseased trees within a certain time frame, to slow the spread of the disease.

The actions we will take at Kings Wood include:

  • Some sweet chestnut trees will need to be felled
  • Other infected trees may be deliberately killed by ring-barking
  • We will need to cut off branches and young growth from the bases of uninfected trees, as these are most vulnerable to new infection
    The whole of Kings Wood has been identified as an infected area, however currently the management we need to undertake will be focussed on two treatment zones in the wood, they cover 6.5ha and 3.5ha, a total of 10ha.

One of the approaches we are using is ‘ring barking’ to kill some of the older veteran trees that are infected. This kills the tree but leaves it standing. Once the tree is dead it can no longer host the disease so cannot spread it further. Leaving dead trees standing creates important habitats in a wood, for instance for bats to roost or for woodpeckers to nest or feed.

We will aim to limit this approach when trees are close to the main tracks and boundaries. We do inspect all our trackside and boundary trees regularly and any dead trees near tracks or paths would be checked as part of that safety process.

About Phytophthoraramorum

Phytophthoraramorum is one of a number of tree diseases affecting woodland in the UK (people are more familiar with ash dieback).First identified in Cornwall in 2002 it is an airborne fungal disease. Originally thought to mostly infect a wide range of garden shrubs, Phytophthorahas since been found in larch and has started to infect sweet chestnut. It now affects thousands of hectares of larch plantation in the more humid western half of UK woodland, from Cornwall, through the south west across England, Wales and into Scotland. The likelihood is the disease will now go on to infect sweet chestnut across the same area.

For more information about Phytophthora visit: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/tree-pests-and-diseases/key-tree-pests-and-diseases/phytophthora-ramorum/

Timescale

Felling and management of infected trees are due to start in October 2020.The deadline to complete the work is 31March 2021.

Level of disruption

The methods we use to complete this work will be carefully considered and planned to ensure maximum safety and efficiency and as little disturbance as possible to visitors, neighbours and wildlife.

We will be using a mixture of chainsaws and larger machinery to fell the trees. Any saleable timber will be extracted from the wood and removed using timber lorries to be processed at specialist sawmills able to manage the infected timber safely.

We do not intend to close Kings Wood, however some areas of the wood and some paths will be closed to public access while works take place.

The car park along the Pentewan Leisure Trail at Nansladron will not be closed. Parking areas near the White River retail area will also remain open unless parking there adversely affects lorry access along the public highway.

Precautions to limit disease spread

There are some simple steps you can take to help prevent these diseases spreading wider:

  • Where possible drive and park your vehicle only on hard-standing surfaces such as tarmac when visiting outdoor areas such as woodlands, parks or gardens
  • Clean mud, organic material and water off your boots and buggies –and the dog–before you leave, because fungi, bacteria and insects can live in these materials
  • Don’t take any plant material away from the wood with you. You may help to spread these diseases to plants in your garden and to other parts of the countryside you visit. This includes not removing timber for firewood.

Find out more about what is happening

We will put up posters in the wood and on local notice boards. We are also running a day of walks with our site manager on 21 October to explain how we are managing the disease and how it will impact the wood.

Please contact operations@woodlandtrust.org.uk to find out more to book a place on the walks.

For more information about what the Woodland Trust is doing to protect our trees and woods against disease please visit: https://www.woodlandtrust.org.uk/trees-woods-and-wildlife/tree-pests-and-diseases/what-we-are-doing/