Larch disease is sweeping through the UK and we are helping it spread. The forests that we love are under threat, and they need our help!

Larch disease is sweeping through the UK, caused by a small fungus Phytophthora ramorum, the disease is fatal to a broad range of trees and plants. One of the most important trees for commercial timber is the beautiful Larch tree, and unfortunately phytophthora is the Larches kryptonite, killing swathes of trees in huge numbers. Once infected, the only control measures available are the felling of the diseased trees.

Our forests are under threat, we can help by following some simple rules.

Phytophthora is a Europe wide problem, found in Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden and The Netherlands. However, as yet only the UK, Ireland and The Netherlands have reported it on trees. The first sighting of Phytophthora ramorum in the UK was in a garden centre in Sussex, England and has since spread like wildfire with outbreaks happening throughout the UK, with forests in England, Wales and Scotland all suffering the devastating effects.

If we look after our trees, we will enjoy the forests for many more generations

How do we fit in?

Phytophthora ramorum is spread by fungal spores carried short distances by air currents, watercourses and wild animals. But importantly for us, it can also be carried on footwear and bicycle tyres. As mountain bikers we love riding in new places, as we travel from forest to forest on our weekend adventures we can unknowingly start a new outbreak of Larch disease. To do our bit to reduce the spread of the disease it is important to live by the following two rules:

  • Wash off any plant debris and mud from our shoes and bike before leaving the forest or trail centre
  • Never take a muddy bike between destinations.

Simply washing our bike before leaving the forests can really help.

Most big trail centres have bike-washing facilities onsite, or if not, you could use a good mobile bike washer. If we start doing all we can to avoid carrying diseased spores from forest to forest, we can help stop the disease taking further hold.

Riders, our forests need us!

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