Pest or disease?

Causal agent:
Cryphonectria parasitica (fungus)

Host species:
European sweet chestnut 

Present in the UK?
Yes at a small number of sites in England

Tree Alert required?

Sweet chestnut blight is a destructive disease of sweet chestnut trees and is usually fatal to our European sweet chestnuts.

In North America severe outbreaks of sweet chestnut blight have caused widespread losses of sweet chestnut trees. The disease originates from Asia and has been found in England since 2011, but only at a small number of sites in central and southern England. Any sites found with chestnut blight are subject to eradication programmes.

The fungus enters the tree through bark cracks or wounds. There is some evidence that it can also enter via Oriental chestnut gall wasp damage. Symptoms include cankers, cracking and discolouration on the bark, bright orange fruiting bodies, wilting and dying back of foliage and epicormic growth beneath the cankers. For more information on sweet chestnut blight please see the resources below.