Forestry Commission Scotland is urging all forest workers and visitors to ‘Keep It Clean’ and help minimise the risk of tree diseases spreading to healthy forests.
One of the ways that diseases can arrive in a healthy forest is to be carried there in mud and forest debris that gets stuck on people’s boots or bike tyres, or even on dog’s paws and horse’s hooves.
The simple advice asks people to take a few minutes before visiting a woodland to brush off dirt and mud - and to make this a habit before every woodland visit.
Dr Anna Brown, the Forestry Commission Scotland’s Head of Tree Health, said: “Practising good biosecurity and arriving clean is one of the key aspects of maintaining healthy forests and woodlands.
“One of the biggest threats we face is from Phyophthora ramorum, which attacks larch trees. Preventing its spread will make a significant impact on the look of many of our forests.
“Keeping it clean is a simple idea that could make a big difference in helping keep our forests healthy.
“Everybody loves a visit to the woods so if we want to continue to enjoy them then we should all be ready to play our part to protect them.”
Tools, walking poles, tripods and backpacks can also get muddy so taking a little time to brush these off can help too.
The Forestry Commission Scotland ‘Keep it Clean’ campaign is now in its second year.