A SIGNIFICANT number of larch trees are to be felled in Stirlingshire after Phytophthora ramorum was discovered in the area. 

Work has begun to chop down the diseased trees across 21 hectares of Cambusbarron’s Gillies Hill in a bid to limit the spread of the pathogen. 

In November, Scottish Forestry issued a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN) to Cambusbarron Community Development Trust after a routine inspection discovered P.ramorum in two locations within the woodland. The work is expected to last until the end of February. 

READ MORE: Revised Phytophthora ramorum Action Plan published by Scottish Forestry

A Scottish Forestry spokesperson said: “P. Ramorum isn’t a new disease being found in Scotland back in 2002. It’s a disease that is now established in large areas of southern and western Scotland where the damp climate gives ideal conditions for the disease to spread on Larch trees.

“Our focus is to slow down the spread of the disease through early detection and quick action.

"Cambusbarron is a good example of this where early felling of symptomatic larch trees is taking place, as well as taking down those surrounding them that may already be infected but not yet showing symptoms." 

The felling work by contractors RTS Forestry will be carried out in phases over six to eight weeks.

The felled trunks are to be hauled from the affected area to a stacking area located near the Polmaise Castle walled garden.

READ MORE: Phytophthora ramorum: Diseased larch trees covering 11 hectares to be felled on Welsh island

This operation will take until at least the end of March.

The spokesperson added: "The swift actions of landowners and managers at sites like this this is the best defence we have to control the spread of this disease.

“Along with industry biosecurity measures, we’d also like to emphasise that the general public can also help prevent tree diseases from spreading. We would advise visitors to the forests and woodlands to simply brush down their boots or other outdoor gear, as well as dogs’ paws, before they visit.”

P. Ramorum was first found in Scottish plant nurseries in 2002 but then detected in larch in 2010.

The accepted best method of control to slow down the rate of spread is to fell the infected trees and all those surrounding them in a 250 metre buffer zone.

SPHNs are served by Scottish Forestry on woodland owners to fell when infections are found. The felled trees, if caught early, can still be used for timber.