LI Plant Health and Biosecurity Newsletter – Spring 2019

Image from TACP Landscape Architects's Green Infrastructure Action Plan for Pollinators. Photo: Dr Tim Rich

In this edition

LI biosecurity news

New biosecurity toolkit for landscape consultants

The Landscape Institute (LI) has published a new plant health and biosecurity toolkit to help landscape professionals tackle the pests and diseases that threaten our landscapes.

Launched in partnership with the Society of Garden Designers (SGD), the British Association of Landscape Industries (BALI) and the Association of Professional Landscapers (APL), the toolkit represents a milestone in collaborative working in the landscape sector.

Landscape architects, garden designers and contractors all specify plants and materials in their work. But to date, there has been little biosecurity guidance aimed specifically at these professionals.

‘Many associations individually provide guidance on biosecurity, but their advice largely focuses on foresters, nurseries and contractors,’ said Landscape Institute President Adam White.

‘As a professional body, we are keen to see better skills and standards developed. This toolkit should align well with the Plant Health Management Standard, which focuses on risk throughout the ornamental and amenity plant supply chain.

‘It is really important that designers really think about plants, where they are coming from and how we can protect them from any further disease.

Read more.

Healthy Plants, Healthy Places #LICPD day announced

Join us on 14 June 2019 for a full day’s CPD training and expert-led tour at The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

This event is an early opportunity for practitioners to come together and interrogate the LI’s brand-new Biosecurity Toolkit for Landscape Consultants. Discuss the implications of the new Toolkit, give us your feedback, and talk about the next stages of this vital area of work.

Hear about plant health and biosecurity from the industry’s foremost experts. Discover how to embed biosecurity at every stage of a project, from design and specification to long-term management; get biosecurity right on site; and learn how to work at scale.

Find out more and book your place.

Dutch Elm Disease: the long tail

Researchers from the Natural Resources Institute Finland and the University of Krakow (Poland) have uncovered novel and unexpected insect vectors and host trees for Dutch elm disease (DED). A comprehensive survey on the fungal associates of hardwood-infesting beetles in Central Europe found the DED pathogen (Ophiostoma novo-ulmi) from the elm-infecting beetles, as well as from beetles on European ash (Fraxinus excelsior) and oak (Quercus robur). The result was unexpected because until now only Scolytus bark beetle species attacking elm trees have been considered the main vectors of the disease.

The study shows that the DED pathogen is hiding in plain view, in association with such vector insects and host trees that have been neglected in previous studies. The results suggest that the pathogen host and vector range in forest ecosystems in Europe is much broader than previously thought.

Read the full study here.

Ash dieback update

Ash dieback toolkit

The Tree Council has published an Ash Dieback Action Plan Toolkit. This useful document shows the costs of intervention for local authorities and other landscape managers, as well as making a compelling case for landscape architects to be involved in landscape-scale recovery programmes for affected areas.

See the toolkit at

The Ash Project

The Ash Project, asking how to celebrate our native ash trees while we still can, has released a wonderful video explaining the threats this important genus faces.

Movement restrictions introduced to protect against tree pest in Kent

The government has introduced new measures to protect the country against the tree pest known as the larger eight-toothed spruce bark beetle (Ips typographus), which was discovered in Kent in December 2018.

Parliament is laying legislation that will restrict the movement of all susceptible material, including trees and wood with bark, within 50km of the outbreak sites.

This legislation is a necessary precaution to prevent the spread of the pest further afield and will remain in place until further notice, but will be kept under review. The exact boundaries of the restricted area and details of the materials under restriction will be available on the Forestry Commission website.

Landscape architects are also urged to remain vigilant for signs of the pest and to report any suspicions to the Forestry Commission.

Nicola Spence, the UK Chief Plant Health Officer, said:

‘The eight-toothed spruce bark beetle poses no threat to human health, but it can be a serious pest to the spruce tree species and the forestry industry.

‘That is why we are taking robust action through this new legislation and its restriction of movement for spruce trees in a 50km area around the outbreak.

‘I encourage anyone who suspects a sighting of the bark beetle to report these to the Forestry Commission online through Tree Alert.’

Native Scots pines threatened

Scotland’s ancient Caledonian pine forests are more and more at risk from a disease that is thriving as the climate warms, an expert report has warned.

Dothistroma needle blight (DNB) is now ‘endemic’ across the country and represents a ‘significant threat’ to Caledonian pinewoods, according to the UK’s independent Committee on Climate Change.

Image: Pinus sylvestris at Cairngorm National Park, by Bruce McAdam

Forestry Commission updates

Forestry Commission invites LI members to complete tree health survey

Forestry Commission has recently launched a survey to gauge perception of threats to tree health and biosecurity.

The findings will help the Commission understand knowledge of the threats to our trees, forests and woodlands, and whether people know what actions they can take to help reduce the spread of tree pests and diseases.

The survey should take no more than 5 minutes to complete. It will close on 29 April 2019.

Complete the survey here.

Resource update: TreeAlert

The Forestry Commission’s Tree Alert for reporting suspected cases of pests or pathogens has been relocated. You can now find the tool at