When do I need to intervene?

It might not be necessary to intervene. It could be a short-term problem, or perhaps no problem at all. Often it is sufficient to understand what you are observing, but you can be confident that if there is a problem to be diagnosed, we are the people to diagnose it.

What steps can I take to protect my trees, shrubs and hedges from pests and diseases?

Maintaining age and species diversity is important in reducing your exposure to specific diseases. Be sure that any planting material that you introduce has an EU Plant Passport. Regularly check the Forestry Commission website for information of plant health threats. But most of all, recognise that people are the biggest threat to trees. Each year we meet many clients who have inadvertently killed or damaged their trees by excavation and resurfacing, building, altering soil hydrology, lighting fires, tipping garden waste, inappropriate pruning, and so on.

What are the signs of pests and disease that I should look out for in my trees, shrubs and hedges?

The larger pests are horses, cattle and sheep trampling the ground in which trees are rooted, and often browsing on the bark of trees, which can lead to their rapid decline. Deer might de-bark trees whilst rubbing their antlers to remove felt. Next are grey squirrels, which browse on the shoots and bark of trees, followed by birds including pigeons and parakeets browsing on buds and young shoots. There are many insects, fungi, viruses and bacteria, most of which play beneficial roles in ecosystems, but when they are introduced from abroad and find new hosts, some of these caon have devastating consequences. Some of the most recently introduced are Asian Longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis) and Ash dieback disease (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus)