Ramorum blight

Ramorum blight is a disease caused by the fungus-like pathogen Phytophthora ramorum that can infect a range of tree and plant species. Symptoms include bleeding cankers - bark lesions that exude fluid and it can infect shoots and foliage as well as branches and trunk.

Ramorum was first identified in the UK in 2002 although it was not until 2009 that large numbers of Japanese larch in South West England were infected and killed by the disease. Since then it has been identified on larch in Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland. Initially the disease was a problem affecting public gardens but it has since spread to include semi-natural woodland, heathland and commercial forests. A key means of spreading the disease is through the movement of infected plants but it is also spread in air currents, watercourses and by humans and animals (e.g. on footwear, dogs’ paws etc.).

Currently there is no cure for Ramorum blight so treatment involves limiting the spread and impact of the disease, through the felling of affected trees and the clearance of host species.

For more information see: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/pramorum