If you find OPM is it important that you report it. Please report any findings to TreeAlert.
The Forestry Commission leads an annual programme of work to manage OPM, with the approach varying depending on what part of England an infested oak tree is in. In 2022 OPM the management programme involves the following areas:
- Pest Free Area – this area is officially designated free from the pest and covers most of the country. In this area government funds an extensive programme of surveillance to monitor for OPM. Any outbreaks of OPM found in the wider environment within this area are managed by government with the objective of eradicating the outbreaks.
- Buffer zone – in this area there is an annual OPM programme of surveillance and control, led by Forestry Commission. This programme involves detecting the pest and treating infested oak trees (and those trees in close proximity). If you own an infested oak tree in the buffer zone, the Forestry Commission may issue you with a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN) asking you to take action, and in most cases support is available for treatment of trees within this zone. The SPHN document will explain what action is needed.
- Established area – this is the area where OPM is established. In this area landowners are responsible for the management of OPM on their land, however guidance is available. If you own an infested oak tree in this area do not try to remove OPM yourself - a professional will need to do this. Find a professionals on the Arboricultural Association website. They’ll spray the trees with an approved bio-pesticide or insecticide. The most effective time to do this is April to June. You should still check for OPM every year.
If you own an infested oak tree on a site with public access you should assess the risks OPM poses on your site and consider implementing a Risk-Based Approach to OPM management. This may involve developing an OPM management plan and selecting the appropriate method depending on the level of risk.
You will have some management options available to you in the established area which allow you to consider your site objectives, level of risk and resources available to you. It is possible that more than one of these will be appropriate for your site and you may decide to employ different approaches in different areas of the site in response to different risks.
If OPM is found in the Buffer or Pest Free Area it is likely that you will receive a Statutory Plant Health Notice (SPHN) which will include instructions for what you should do. A government led management programme operates in these areas, including in many cases support to treat OPM.
More information is provided about the different management options:
Chemical Control (PDF)
Nest Removal (PDF)
Signage, Restricting Access and Communications (PDF)
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Case Study
Government is funding a programme of research to explore alternative management options for OPM, so it’s worth checking these pages regularly to see if new information is available.