First found in Scottish plant nurseries in 2002 and in gardens and parks in 2007, Ramorum disease (Phytophthora ramorum) is causing extensive damage and mortality to larch trees and other plants, mainly in the wetter west of Scotland.

Disease spread 

Scottish Forestry conducts bi-annual helicopter surveillance and associated ground surveys of larch to monitor the spread of Phytophthora ramorum on larch. The map shows the progression of the disease. Outside the Management Zone, Ramorum has not been detected in over 90% of the larch in Scotland, underlining why continued control actions are necessary to slow down the rate, extent and severity of disease expansion.

Management Zone

An area in south-west Scotland at the heart of a major surge of Phytophthora ramorum on larch in 2013 was designated* as a Management Zone (shown by the red outline on the map below – illustrative only). Within this zone the disease was too advanced to stop its spread within the area, so efforts have been focused on tackling new outbreaks in Scotland outside the Management Zone.

* The Plant Health (Forestry) (Phytophthora ramorum Management Zone) Order 2014

Mgmt Zone

Statutory Plant Health Notices

Statutory Plant Health Notices (SPHNs) are issued requiring the felling of larch trees infected with P. ramorum plus larch within a 250 metre buffer zone everywhere in Scotland outside the Management Zone. SPHNs for P. ramorum are generally not issued inside the Management Zone, in order to allow the phased removal of larch within the capacity of the forestry sector to harvest and process the timber.  

P. ramorum can also cause disease in Rhododendron ponticum. The spread of spores from infected rhododendron, although on a smaller scale than larch, can still contribute to disease spread. SPHNs issued where infection of rhododendron with P. ramorum is confirmed require the removal of infected rhododendron plants plus rhododendron within a 2 metre buffer zone.

Wood movement and processing licences 

You must apply for a movement licence to remove wood from a site issued with an SPHN or to move larch material from within the Management Zone to any site outside it. Wood from SPHN sites or wood moving from within the Management Zone to a site outside it can only go to a facility that holds a processing licence to handle it. Information on applying for movement or processing licences can be found here or contact your local Scottish Forestry Conservancy Office for support.


Phytophthora ramorum can be spread in mud or needles stuck to footwear and machine, vehicle, bicycle or buggy tyres. Please follow biosecurity guidance to help stop Ramorum disease spreading.

Land managers can download posters highlighting actions forestry workers and members of the public can take to minimise the risk of spreading Phytophthora ramorum.

  • Phytophthora ramorum disease biosecurity poster for forestry workers (A3 or A4)
  • Phytophthora ramorum disease biosecurity poster for the public (A3 or A4).  

Reporting suspected sightings of Ramorum disease outside the Management Zone

If you suspect a forest or woodland might be infected, or you have noticed suspicious symptoms, please report it without delay to the Scottish Forestry This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a description, location and digital images if possible. If you own or manage a woodland, please maintain vigilance and inspect your woods regularly, particularly where larch and/or rhododendron is present.

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