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
APS advice page

American Phytopathological Society - Links to very comprehensive web pages for diseases caused by plant pathogens


Arborist website with tree health forum


British Crop Protection Council - UK Pesticides Guide Online, subscription guides to the pesticides and biocontrol agents registered for use in the UK

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


Plant and Tree Health information from Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs in Northern Ireland. 

DEFRA - pest and disease factsheets

Fact sheets on notifiable and non-notifiable pests and diseases

FERA online publication

Nurseries, Retailers and Landscapers - Biosecurity Best Practice Protocols

FERA online publication

Parks and Gardens - Biosecurity Best Practice Protocols

Forest Research

Pest and disease resources on specific tree and woodland problems 

Forest Research biocontrol agent

Pest management of Great spruce bark beetle (Dendroctonus micans) using a biological control agent 

Forest Research biocontrol agent

PG Suspension is a biological control agent for Heterobasidion annosum (formerly known as Fomes annosus), licensed for use on Pinus in the UK

Forest Research fact page

Links to websites providing resources and guidance on managing resilient forests from Forest Research and the Forestry Commission

Forest Research online book

Forest Research Practice Guide on Reducing Pesticide use in Forestry, which contains general good practice advice on tree pest and disease management

Horticulture Week

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

James Hutton Institute - Ecological Impacts of Tree Diseases

Resource page on managing ecological impacts of Oak Decline, including management case studies and tools to aid conservation of oak associated biodiversity

James Hutton Institute - Ecological Impacts of Tree Diseases

Fact page on the ecological impacts of Ash Dieback, including tools to aid conservation of ash associated biodiversity

London Tree Officers Association

Provides advice on threats to tree health with comprehensive information on diagnosis and managment in a matrix

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

Royal Forestry Society fact sheet

Managing Ash Dieback - Case Studies 2019


A division of the Scottish Government largely dealing with pests and diseases, and crop protection, and providing diagnostic services

Scottish Forestry

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

Scottish Forestry fact page

Fact page on Dothistroma Needle Blight in Scotland, including information, impacts, and management guidelines

Scottish Forestry fact page

Fact page on Ash Dieback in Scotland, including information, impacts, and management guidelines

Scottish Forestry fact page

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

Scottish Forestry guidance

Policy guidance on planting in Caledonian pine woods to reduce the risk of Dothistroma needle blight

Scottish Forestry guidance for Juniper

Scottish Forestry - Juniper Management Guidelines and planting guidance for Scotland

Scottish Goverment guidance

Scottish Government website for plant health issues

Scottish Government guidance

Guidance on the use of pesticides to reduce impact on the environment and comply with legislation

Scottish Government guidance

Statutory management requirements, providing guidance on the use of plant protection products

Tree Care Forum

Arborist website with search facility for discussions including on tree health

UK Government HSE Chemical Regulations Directorate

Comprehensive information on the use and regulation of pesticides and the pesticides register of UK authorised products

UK Government Tree Pests and Diseases

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