The Landscape Institute has notified its members that rootballed oak trees imported from the Netherlands in the last year and planted in different locations across the UK are infested with Oak Processionary Moth. Caterpillars of the Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) are a pest which can be a hazard to the health of oak trees, people and animals. They are a native species of southern Europe which have been accidentally introduced to England and, if left uncontrolled, could spread across much of Britain.
The Forestry Commission, local authorities and landowners are working hard to control this pest, and the Landscape Institute has informed us that the Forestry Commission has urged the inspection of all first-year plantings of oak of 8cm+ girth in the next 7-10 days, and to report any findings via Tree Alert.
Guidance on how to identify and report OPM can be found on the links below, including an Oak Tree Owners’ OPM Manual produced by Forest Research.
We strive hard to ensure that all new planting stock is responsibly sourced & procured, with a preference for using UK-grown stock. However, despite the various checks and certification processes that happens at the nursery, at exportation and at importation, there is still a risk that infected trees have been allowed into the country. We are taking action by reviewing all our current and recently completed construction projects and ensuring clients/contractors are notified of the risks and urging them to inspect the trees.