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

Arborist website with tree health forum

BALI advice and toolkit

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

CABI Plantwise field guide

Plantwise Diagnostic Field Guide a good guide for learning how to carry out disease diagnosis caused by pests and pathogens

CABI Plantwise knowledge bank

Comprehensive resource with searchable knowledge bank and diagnostic tool

CABI woody plants field guide

Field Guide for the Identification of Damage on Woody Sentinel Plants. This guide is recommended as the first step in disease identification of trees and shrubs

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

FAO illustrated guide

An Illustrated Guide to the State of the Health of Trees By Eric Boa (CABI), published by the FAO

Forest Pathology

Website with excellent information on disease types and other relevant topics. Very infomative and useful for general forest disease information

Forest Research pest and disease resources

Detailed information sheets on specific tree and woodland problems 

Forest Research posters

Tree pest and disease posters

Forestry Commission field book

Diseases and Disorders of Forest Trees (by S.C. Gregory and D.B. Redfern, 1998, Forestry Commission Field Book 16 )

Horticulture Week

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

NZFFA forest health assessments guide

Easy to follow guides from Farm Forestry New Zealand for conducting forest health assessments

Observatree priority pests

Detailed information on the priority tree pests and diseases monitored by the citizen science initiative

Pest Risk Register

A searchable or downloadable database which records risks from plant pests and pathogens, and can be searched by host as well as pest

RHS advice search

Search pages with profiles and advice on plant diseases and disorders

Royal Forestry Society

Royal Forestry Society Pest and Diseases webpage provides links mainly to UK Government and Forestry Commission information

The Arboricultural Association

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

Tree Care Forum

Arborist website with search facility for discussions including on tree health

UK Government tree pest and disease guidance

UK Government Find a Specific Pest or Disease provides detailed information on priority tree pests either present in Great Britain or posing the greatest threat of entering

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

USDA Forest Service field guide

USDA Forest Service IPED Field Guide - Pest Evaluation and Detection

Woodland Trust

Provides useful tree pest and disease webpages for native and non-native trees