Glasgow & West Scotland

Work to halt tree diseases at Balloch park

A cypress tree infected with Phytophthora lateralis
Image caption A cypress tree at Balloch park infected with Phytophthora lateralis

Work is being carried out to contain the spread of three deadly tree and plant diseases which have been found on the shores of Loch Lomond.

Last year, the Forestry Commission said Phytophthora lateralis had been identified for the first time in the UK at Balloch Castle Country Park.

The agency has now said Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora cinnamomi are also present at the park.

It is working with West Dunbartonshire Council to remove dead or dying trees.

Lawson's Cypress trees, yew trees and rhododendron at the park have been found to be infected by the Phytophthora fungus-like organisms.

Two of them - lateralis and ramorum - are classed as "quarantine organisms" and require statutory action to control them.

The Forestry Commission's Roddie Burgess said: "We were alerted to this in 2010 and we've been working with West Dunbartonshire Council to limit the spread of the two quarantine organisms.

'Suspicious symptoms'

"We will be carrying on with our own surveys in the area, but we're also asking all local residents who might have species of cypress, larch or rhododendron on their properties to check them carefully for signs of dying foliage or bleeding cankers on the stems, and to report suspicious symptoms to us."

Phytophthora ramorum has been found on one Lawson's cypress tree and in rhododendron at the park.

Phytophthora lateralis has also been found on several Lawson's Cypress trees.

Ronnie Dinnie, from West Dunbartonshire Council, said: "The number of trees affected in the park has so far been relatively small, so we are hoping that the risk to other nearby areas has been contained.

"Any felling of the yew and Lawson's Cypress trees will have a damaging impact on the park environment, but we will take the necessary steps to ensure these infections do not spread."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites