Tree Care and Diseases

Tree Care

Trees in our care sometimes need maintenance. This can be removal of dead branches or diseased wood; or it may be reduction or thinning depending on species. During a tree's early formative years a crossing branch may need removing to prevent rubbing and possible entry of disease.

It is important to choose a tree species suitable for the soil type and space available

Tree Preservation Orders

In West Hill many trees have Tree Preservation Orders on them; these can be individual trees or blocks of trees. To find out if your tree has a TPO contact East Devon District Council on 01404 515616 or fill in the online enquiry form here. If a tree has a Tree Preservation Order on it, permission must be obtained from EDDC before any work is carried out (apart from removing dead branches). Application forms are available on EDDC's online planning portal. Click here to go to EDDC's webpage Works to Trees. Working on a protected tree without permission is an offence and can lead to a fine of up to £20,000.

The Arboricultural Association (ARB) website has a directory of ARB approved tree surgeons which is searchable by name or postcode. Click here to go to the ARB website.

Disease Threats to our Trees

There are 48 pests and diseases harmful to trees on the Forest Research website. Not all of them are present in the UK (yet!). Forest Research is the research agency of the Forestry Commission and the principal organisation for forestry and tree-related research. It is internationally renowned for the provision of science, research, evidence, data and services in support of sustainable forestry. The Forest Research website has a lot of information about pests and diseases affecting trees. It is highly recommended that you check it out if you want to know more about disease threats. There are comprehensive photographs – not for anyone who has a creepy-crawlie phobia!

Chalara – Ash dieback
Disease is an ever present threat to our trees, such as Chalara dieback of Ash trees – caused by the hymenoscyphus fraxineus fungus. The chief signs are die back and lesions centred on dead side shoots. The Woodland Trust website has a guide to Ash dieback. Also the Forest Research webpage has comprehensive information on Ash dieback. You can find an interactive map of Ash dieback spread on the Forestry Commission website by clicking here.

Acute Oak Decline
Another disease is Acute Oak Decline (AOD), a new disease which started some 20 to 30 years ago. It is considered a threat to the long-term health and survival of native Oak species and is spread by two bacteria and one insect species. At present it is in the Midlands and Welsh Borders. Mature Oak trees are most affected. The Forestry Commission has information on its website about Acute Oak Decline.

Symptoms of AOD to look for:
1/ Weeping patches of dark fluid visible on oak stems
2/ Cracks in the outer bark from which fluid weeps
3/ Irregularly oval shaped lesions in the inner bark , and cavities behind outer bark around seepage point

Spread – Aerial mode of dispersal.
Management – Prompt removal and destruction of the bark affected. Exercise caution over moving firewood to locations where AOD is not present. Avoid moving firewood from symptomatic trees.


Report Ash dieback: Tel. 0131 314 6414 or email

You can also report diseased trees on the Tree Alert webpage

West Hill Tree Warden Eileen Perkins 01404 815905
Councillor Alan Cook 01404 813675