Recommended Sources

The purpose of this page is to signpost  information from across plant health sectors that is relevant to the natural environment.


About This Page

Much information is available online and in print to help identify disease symptoms, the organisms that cause them, and to provide guidance on management and biosecurity. Here we have collected sources we judge to be generally reliable for information on these topics. You can use the Resource Type button to filter, search by keyword, or scroll through all together. It should be noted that most information on these webpages concerns invasive non-native species (INNS) or those which have recently become problematic, possibly due to climate change. However, there are many native pathogens that have evolved with their hosts and are commonly encountered in the natural environment. See Getting Started for good places to begin in identifying both native and INN pests.

Getting Started

Good places to start in the identification process include the CABI Field Guide for the Identification of Damage on Woody Sentinel Plants, CABI Plantwise Diagnostic Field Guide (for crops but very useful) and also Diseases and Disorders of Forest Trees. Furthermore there are several websites with information on common disease causing organisms in the natural environment including the tree decay fungi webpage of GMC Arboriculture and First Nature. If you need help identifying insects you could contact the Royal Entomological Society, the RHS, or SASA. The Arboricultural Association also have a book shop where excellent guides can be purchased on 'Fungi on Trees', 'Tree Pest and Diseases' 'Managing Insects and Mites on Woody Plants' and 'Diagnosis of Ill Health in Trees'. Detailed information on most disease causing organisms can also be found on the Plantwise Knowledge Bank Database (Plantwise fact sheets). For general information on tree diseases, the Forest Pathology website is very useful. Whether the organisms are INNS or native pests and diseases, be sure to practice good biosecurity and take control measures where necessary.

Reporting Notifiable Pests

Most pests encountered will not be notifiable but if after checking diagnostic and specific resources you think you may have encountered a notifiable pest it is important that you report it quickly. In forest trees in Scotland notify Scottish Forestry via TreeAlert or by email, or if in any other plants notify the Horticulture and Marketing Unit at SASA. Outwith Scotland, consult the Plant Health Information Portal for other UK reporting contacts.

Resource Details
BALI advice and toolkit

British Association of Landscape Industries - Pest and Diseases section with Landscape Institute Toolkit for biosecurity guidance

California Oak Mortality Task Force

Extensive biosecurity and best practice guidelines for nurseries and wildland conservation projects issued by the California Oak Mortality Task Force, but relevant to most host plants and locations

DAERA Plant and Tree Health

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland Government guidance for pests and diseases, pesticides, plant passporting, imports and exports, surveys and compliance

DEFRA factsheets

Detailed information pages on notifiable and non-notifiable pests and diseases

FERA biosecurity posters

Turning over a clean leaf - guidance in the forms of posters for biosecurity in woodlands and forests, parks and gardens, nurseries and gardens centres, and the countryside

FERA commercial biosecurity protocols

2012 publication with detailed guidance Nurseries, Retailers and Landscapers - Biosecurity Best Practice Protocols 

FERA parks and gardens biosecurity protocols

2012 publication with detailed guidance: Parks and Gardens - Biosecurity Best Practice Protocols

Forestry Commission biosecurity guidance

2012 document with detailed guidance for biosecurity in forests

Forestry Commission biosecurity poster

2012 poster from the Forestry Commission on good forestry industry biosecurity practices

Forestry Commission e-learning

Login as a guest and complete the Forestry Commission e-learning modules

Horticulture Week

Magazine and website with plant health plant health webpages and biosecurity information - by subscription

Landscape Institute

Website has plant health and biosecurity webpages and a comprehensive Biosecurity Toolkit for practitioners

NNSS biosecurity advice fact page

GB Non-native Species Secretariat fact page with biosecurity advice and access to an e-learning biosecurity module

Observatree biosecurity advice

Observatree fact page with links to general biosecurity

Observatree measures and guidance

Observatree page with links to biosecurity videos, posters and advice

Plant Healthy Self Assessment

Plant Healthy Self Assessment to help protect businesses and customers against the potential losses and disruption caused by plant pests and diseases, with a full plant health assurance scheme in development

Plant passporting - DAERA

Government guidance on issuing plant passports in Northern Ireland

Plant passporting - DEFRA

Government guidance on issuing plant passports in England and Wales

Plant passporting - EU

New EU plant health rules with information on plant passporting

Plant passporting - SASA

Government guidance on issuing plant passports in Scotland

RHS advice page

Provides advice on biosecurity and on plant diseases

Scottish Forestry biosecurity

Keep It Clean biosecurity advice tailored to the public

Scottish Forestry ramorum disease

Scottish Forestry advice on Phytophthora ramorum in Scotland with biosecurity and replanting information

Scottish Forestry tree health

Information on tree health in forestry in Scotland from the Scottish Government

Scottish Government leaflet

Scottish Government's 2011 'Plants get ill too' leaflet for download

SEARS biosecurity guidance

Scotland’s Environmental and Rural Services comprehensive biosecurity guidance

The Arboricultural Association

Tree disease identification and a comprehensive Biosecurity advice document for arboriculture and environmental sectors

UK Government biosecurity advice

Biosecurity advice for trees from the UK Government and links to useful rescources, including the 'Keep it Clean' campaign

UK Government biosecurity strategy

Policy paper (2014) with overview of the measures that UK administrations are implementing to improve plant biosecurity

UK Government tree pests and diseases

A comprehensive directory of UK Government web sources with information on how to identify, report, prevent and minimise the introduction, spread and impacts of tree pests and diseases in the UK

UK Plant Health Portal

The UK Government (DEFRA) Plant Health Portal is an online hub for plant health information, data and resources. It links to the Pest Risk Register which records and rates risks from plant pests and pathogens