The London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) is pleased to announce the publication of two new guidance documents relating to canker stain of plane (CSP, Ceratocystis platani).

The first is called Canker stain of plane: A guide to prevention and is a brief reminder for tree officers and contractors of the importance of biosecurity in the fight to prevent Ceratocystis from entering the UK.

The second is called Canker stain of plane: Dealing with an outbreakThis document is designed to inform and support tree officers and others working in the arboricultural industry should Ceratocystis be confirmed as having arrived in UK. It is a brief, practical document intended to bring relevant information together into once place and ensure that in the event of an outbreak in the UK we are well-placed to eradicate the disease before it becomes established.

Both documents have been influenced by the excellent work of the Forestry Commission, including the Keep it Clean campaign and the Ceratocystis platani Contingency Plan.

Ceratocystis platani is a fungal pathogen which affects the genus Platanus and causes infected trees to die. It is spread predominantly by contaminated equipment being used on uninfected trees, although it can also be transported via root grafts.

Since October 2014 the UK has held EU Protected Zone Status (PZS) for Ceratocystis, requiring robust controls relating to importations of plane trees and ensuring that planes can only be imported from other areas which have been designated free of the disease. PZS surveys for CSP are carried out annually in the UK.

The LTOA, under contract to the Forestry Commission, has been carrying out these surveys in Greater London since 2013. At the current time it is not believed that Ceratocystis is present in the UK. The definitive UK Ceratocystis text Detecting and identifying canker stain of plane, by Lucio Montecchio; revised and updated by Neville Fay and John Parker, is available from the LTOA (www.ltoa.org.uk) or Treeworks Environmental Practice (www.treeworks.co.uk).

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