Ramorum disease of larch trees and the Public Forest Estate in Cumbria
Larch trees on the Forestry Commission’s Public Forest Estate in Cumbria (including the Lake District) are being affected by Ramorum disease, caused by Phytophthora ramorum (P. ramorum).
Visitors may see healthy looking larch trees being felled. This is because the disease can be present in trees without showing obvious symptoms and it is important to ensure that all infected trees are felled.
Larch trees cover nearly 3200 hectares (5.5%) of total forest area in Cumbria. The Forestry Commission’s Public Forest Estate manages just over 40% of this larch.
Treatment and control
Unfortunately the only effective means of control is to fell or kill affected trees quickly before they produce spores and spread the disease to other trees and plants.
The Forestry Commission will restock areas of the Public Forest Estate where trees have been felled. This provides an opportunity to diversify the species and age structure of the forest and to continue its management for recreation, timber, wildlife and for the many businesses operating in partnership with Visitor Centres in the area. Using increased knowledge about climate change, the Forestry Commission will take the opportunity that felling provides to plant a more diverse range of species.
Using the felled timber
The timber from infected larch trees can still be used and the Forestry Commission’s operations team is working with timber customers to manage the removal and sale of infected material.
How you can help
If you are visiting or working in affected woodland, please help to slow the spread of plant diseases by taking some simple precautions.
- Stay on marked paths
- Scrape mud, soil and debris off your boots and tyres before leaving
- Brush leaves, twigs and debris off your clothes and vehicles (and the dog!) before leaving
- Don’t remove wood or plant material from the woodland
- Follow instructions on forest signs
More information about the local effects of the disease can be found in our Ramorum disease in Cumbria leaflet, avaialble from our downloads page
Further facts and background information on Phytophthora ramorum