Volunteers will be looking out for common pests and diseases of ash, oak and horse chestnut, like knopper galls on oak (see image to right), bleeding canker of the horse chestnut and nectria canker of the Ash. The survey also asks volunteers to contribute to surveillance of new pests and diseases that are likely to arrive in Great Britain in the near future.

York-based OPAL scientist Alison Dyke said: “Our native trees are under threat from pests and diseases that can weaken or even kill them. Ash dieback has received a lot of media coverage and we want members of the public to keep their eyes open for this and other diseases. We can only protect our trees if we know where the problems are. The tree health survey will help turn the public into citizen scientists and form an early warning system for our nation’s trees.”

The survey, designed in collaboration with Forest Research and the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), includes activities such as identifying tree species, measuring height and examining trees for signs of poor health. Any tree can be surveyed and all of the information submitted will help scientists build up a picture of tree health across Great Britain.

More information about the Tree Health Survey is available at www.opalexplorenature.org/treesurvey.

Citizen scientists help protect trees

A major survey into the health of trees in Great Britain was launched in May 2013. The survey was developed as a part of the OPAL project with input from OPAL community scientist Alison Dyke, based at the Stockholm Environment Institute at the University of York.

Volunteers will be looking out for common pests and diseases of ash, oak and horse chestnut, like knopper galls on oak, bleeding canker of the horse chestnut and nectria canker of the Ash. The survey also asks volunteers to contribute to surveillance of new pests and diseases that are likely to arrive in Great Britain in the near future.

York-based OPAL scientist Alison Dyke said: “Our native trees are under threat from pests and diseases that can weaken or even kill them. Ash dieback has received a lot of media coverage and we want members of the public to keep their eyes open for this and other diseases. We can only protect our trees if we know where the problems are. The tree health survey will help turn the public into citizen scientists and form an early warning system for our nation’s trees.”

The survey, designed in collaboration with Forest Research and the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), includes activities such as identifying tree species, measuring height and examining trees for signs of poor health. Any tree can be surveyed and all of the information submitted will help scientists build up a picture of tree health across Great Britain.

More information about the Tree Health Survey is available at www.opalexplorenature.org/treesurvey.