Club info

Orienteers and tree diseases

You’ll all have heard about Ash Dieback by now and seen the round robin from BOF that Ian circulated a while ago with advice on how we can help prevent the spread of this and other tree diseases. Here’s a little reminder of how we as orienteers (who are therefore more likely to visit parts of the woods most others never reach), can help prevent the spread – and it’s really worth paying more attention this time as the spring/summer weather tempts us all out and about and especially as Glen Dye has been confirmed as victim of an outbreak of a similar disease affecting larch.

You can help by following these guidelines whether orienteering or just out for a walk:

  • If possible, thoroughly wash all footwear, paws and bike/buggy tyres before leaving the area – the spores are carried in clods of mud and leaf litter stuck to these – but don’t just dunk your shoes in the nearest stream as this will simply disperse any contamination all the more effectively!
  • Alternatively, wash footwear, paws and tyres when you get home and using a garden fungicide will make this more effective (but not on the paws please)
  • Thoroughly wash and dry any clothing especially if it’s clarted in mud – preferably give it 48 hours before reuse if possible. Spores are wind-bourne before they get into the mud so you may pick some up while running around. (Even if you haven’t, it’s common courtesy to other orienteers down-wind of you at the next event!)

See also the Keep it Clean campaign by the Forestry Commission

If you want more info on tree diseases then here are a few links or you can ask our resident biosecurity expert, Gen.

Juniper Dieback – many of the areas we use have juniper
Phytophthora ramorum – Latin for “the larch one”
Chalara fraxinea – Latin for “the ash one”

Unlike Foot and Mouth, the effects of these diseases aren’t so easy to see so easily forgotten about. Please remember and help orienteering to maintain its good reputation with landowners by doing your bit. Thanks.

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