New canker stain of plane documents: Prevention and Outbreak

The London Tree Officers Association (LTOA) is pleased to announce the publication of two new guidance documents relating to canker stain of plane (CSP, Ceratocystis platani).

The first is called Canker stain of plane: A guide to prevention and is a brief reminder for tree officers and contractors of the importance of biosecurity in the fight to prevent Ceratocystis from entering the UK.

The second is called Canker stain of plane: Dealing with an outbreakThis document is designed to inform and support tree officers and others working in the arboricultural industry should Ceratocystis be confirmed as having arrived in UK. It is a brief, practical document intended to bring relevant information together into once place and ensure that in the event of an outbreak in the UK we are well-placed to eradicate the disease before it becomes established.

Both documents have been influenced by the excellent work of the Forestry Commission, including the Keep it Clean campaign and the Ceratocystis platani Contingency Plan.

Ceratocystis platani is a fungal pathogen which affects the genus Platanus and causes infected trees to die. It is spread predominantly by contaminated equipment being used on uninfected trees, although it can also be transported via root grafts.

Since October 2014 the UK has held EU Protected Zone Status (PZS) for Ceratocystis, requiring robust controls relating to importations of plane trees and ensuring that planes can only be imported from other areas which have been designated free of the disease. PZS surveys for CSP are carried out annually in the UK.

The LTOA, under contract to the Forestry Commission, has been carrying out these surveys in Greater London since 2013. At the current time it is not believed that Ceratocystis is present in the UK. The definitive UK Ceratocystis text Detecting and identifying canker stain of plane, by Lucio Montecchio; revised and updated by Neville Fay and John Parker, is available from the LTOA ( or Treeworks Environmental Practice (


Detecting and identifying canker stain of plane

The LTOA has become a UK partner in the new Euphresco project Identification of Cryphonectria and Ceratocystis spp. occurring on sweet chestnut and Platanus spp

We have also set up a new CSP working party made up of 8 LTOA members which will be looking at drawing up guidance for tree officers and contractors.

The LTOA – in association with Treework Environmental Practice – has released a new industry publication: Detecting and identifying canker stain of plane. This 48-page A5 colour booklet contains all of the essential information about canker stain (Ceratocystis platani) and should be regarded as essential reading for anyone interested in finding out more about the disease.

It includes chapters detailing morphology and infection strategies, movement and spread, symptoms, practical survey tips, sample collection and fungal identification, the UK and Italian methods of prevention and control and a comprehensive list of references and further reading. The text is accompanied by colour photographs on almost every page and drawings/diagrams to assist identification and diagnosis.

The booklet was authored by international expert in Ceratocystis platani Professor Lucio Montecchio, of De Rebus Plantarum at the University of Padua. This 2nd edition English-language version has been revised and updated by John Parker of the LTOA and Neville Fay of Treework Environmental Practice to include additional material relevant to the UK situation, including the methodology and results of the LTOA Protected Zone Status surveys for Ceratocystis in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Since 2014 the LTOA has been leading on monitoring plane trees in London for the presence of canker stain, working closely with the Forestry Commission, Forest Research and several tree officers and managers to survey thousands of trees across the capital to meet the requirements necessary to retain Protected Zone Status This ensures that plane saplings can only be imported into the country from other areas which have been confirmed as being free of the disease.

The LTOA has developed considerable expertise in the subject and in October 2016 was confirmed as the UK partner in a new pan-European Euphresco project – Identification and early detection of Cryphonectria parasitica and Ceratocystis platani occurring on trees in Europe.

Copies of the booklet are priced at just £5 and are available to purchase from the LTOA.

Some example pages are available here

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European collaboration on canker stain of plane trees

A study workshop weekend in Padua, Italy, on canker stain of plane: a new collaboration venture between Treework
Environmental Practice and De Rebus Plantarum.

European collaboration on canker stain of plane trees is an article published in ARB Magazine and can be viewed by clicking here

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Members can attend, for free, the LTOA meetings which are held four times a year and cover a wide range of tree related matters.

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