Defra have released their latest update on the Oak Processionary Moth findings, including a map showing the extent of the infestations and an FAQ document.
All current findings have originated from infested areas in other countries. Although there is no suggestions that UK nurseries within the Protected Zone have grown or supplied such trees, the HTA advises all growers and nurseries stocking oak trees embark as soon as possible on a precautionary spraying schedule, regardless of your sources of stock or location.
The HTA reiterates to landscapers, gardeners and developers it is essential to conduct further inspections on all oaks planted in the last 12 months.
At this time of year caterpillars would be present on infested trees and are easy to detect visually.
If a nest is discovered and you are in the Protected Zone or the Buffer Zone, it must be reported via TreeAlert, and if you trade in oaks you must contact you local APHA Plant Health Inspector to report the finding. The Government will take action and the infestation will be sprayed and the nest eradicated and possibly the trees destroyed. There is no compensation for loss of trees, but Defra will fund the OPM eradication which is led by the Forestry Commission.
The HTA supports responsible sourcing of oak trees, and recommends anyone purchasing larger oaks to ensure they are sourced from UK nurseries who have robust biosecurity standards, run a tight supply chain and have been inspected for any sign of OPM in the immediate past.
Nicola Spence, Defra’s Chief Plant Health Officer, has also today written an article in the Telegraph highlighting the issue more publicly. You can read the article here.