Looking after our trees - FAQs
FAQs related to Oak Processionary Moth - where did you buy the trees from?
We bought the trees from a trusted UK supplier, believing them to be UK stock. The Forestry Commission found there was a problem with Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) elsewhere in the country, they traced the trees back to the supplier and it transpires that they imported this stock from Holland.
What damage does the Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) cause?
OPM is a tree pest because its caterpillars feed on the leaves of several species of oak trees. Large populations can strip whole oak trees bare, leaving them more vulnerable to other pests and diseases, and to other stresses, such as drought.
How long have you had the trees and what is the likelihood that the pests have spread?
The trees were delivered in February 2019. As we have caught the infestation early, it is unlikely that other Oak trees around the campus have been affected, as the moths do not start flying until July - September. However, we will be carrying out checks on all of our oak trees with immediate effect and all findings will be recorded.
Has the damage spread to other trees on the University Campus?
We will not know this until a full inspection has been carried out on all of the University's Oak trees. We will update on the situation on the Tree Team news pages as and when we know.
Will you be replacing the three trees that had to be removed?
Yes, in line with our tree replacement policy, we will be replacing the trees with UK stock in the late Autumn when it’s appropriate to plant trees of this type.
Where will you source your new trees from?
We are currently using a nursery in Hereford. A recent site visit has confirmed next year’s tree order and all are field-grown at the nursery in the UK.
How will you ensure that this situation doesn’t happen again in the future?
On this occasion, we were let down by our trusted UK supplier. In future, we will carry out further checks to ensure that we are only getting trees from the UK.
General tree FAQs - How do you survey your trees?
Initially, all our trees are assessed visually to identify possible risks to safety due to disease, defects, or other factors which could make a tree unsafe. We also have hi-tech equipment which enables us to assess the inside of the tree.
Do you ever fell trees?
Yes, we do fell trees, but only ever as a last resort. We will always consider all other options first but if the tree is in an area of heavy usage and failure of the tree would have catastrophic consequences, then removal may be the only option.
Do you have a tree replacement policy?
Whenever we have to remove a tree, we plant at least two new trees, We’re also investing in semi-mature trees, as we recognise that it takes several years before a sapling brings the environmental benefits generated by more mature specimens.
What are you doing to try to retain trees as long as possible?
We’ve recently invested in some hi-tech decay detection equipment which means we can conduct a much fuller examination of the trees and then monitor their condition so that we reduce the risk of any premature action, as well as ensuring that we have the best possible information on which to base decisions about what we need to do.
Do you have any external verification that what you are doing complies with best practice and industry guidelines?
Renowned tree expert David Dowson from Tree Legal will be carrying out a full external audit every five years, with the first one taking place this year.