Guidance

Report a tree pest or disease: overview

Find out when and how to report a notifiable tree pest or disease in the UK, and information on services such as Tree Alert, TreeCheck and Observatree.

Understand which tree pests or diseases are notifiable

Some tree pests and diseases are notifiable, which means that, in England, they must be reported to the Forestry Commission or the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

Notifiable tree pests and diseases are the ones that have the potential to cause the greatest damage to our trees, woods and forests. See the downloadable matrix (PDF, 201KB, 2 pages) to find out which ones are notifiable. The matrix also includes a quick guide to how each pest and disease is spread, and whether disinfectant should be used after working with affected material.

Anyone can report a notifiable pest or disease. Reports from the public are valuable. They supplement the Forestry Commission’s annual surveys.

The preferred way to make a report is with Tree Alert, the online pest and disease reporting tool. Note that Tree Alert requires you to upload good quality photographs.

You can use Tree Alert to report suspected pests and diseases found anywhere in the UK. Reports from Scotland and Wales will be passed to Forestry Commission Scotland and Natural Resources Wales for follow-up.

Report suspected cases in Northern Ireland to the Northern Ireland Forest Service using TreeCheck, the all-Ireland pest and disease reporting tool.

Note that reports of tree pests and diseases in trade locations, such as nurseries, should be reported to the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA).

What to expect if you make a report

The report will be acknowledged and you may be contacted again if further detail is required. If a notifiable pest or disease is confirmed, the Forestry Commission’s response will be one of the following:

  • plot the location so it can inform local tree and woodland managers of its presence, and advise them how best to manage it
  • take action to prevent or minimise spread of the pest or disease to other areas
  • take action to eradicate the pest or disease before it can become established and spread

Get involved in monitoring tree health

Visit Observatree if you would like more information about monitoring the health of the UK’s trees. You can only join Observatree if you’re selected to do so but you’ll find a range of helpful resources available on their website.

Published 26 September 2018