You have probably noticed that over the past few years there have been increasing infestations of the Oak Processionary Moth (“OPM”) in parts of Oxshott. Some residents have had to pay significant sums to tree specialists to have OPM caterpillar nests removed from their oak trees.
The problem with OPM is the caterpillar hairs which easily detach and drift around, and cause severe skin rashes and asthmatic attacks. The Forestry Commission has produced a very informative leaflet which can be downloaded here, and which contains links to other online sources of information. You will see that the leaflet explains clearly the problems that would be caused if this pest were to spread throughout the UK, and therefore the urgent need to control it by reporting occurrences to the Forestry Commission.
To prevent infestations from spreading, the Forestry Commission will spray (at no cost to you) not only all previously-infected oak trees but also those oak trees that are close-by. If you have oak trees that:
- were infested last year, OR
- are within 50 metres of any oak tree that was previously affected,
It would be sensible to get all ‘qualifying’ trees sprayed to minimise the risk of OPM spreading even more throughout Oxshott, to try to prevent the risk of you or your neighbours getting skin and eye irritations or asthma attacks from the OPM caterpillar hairs and to reduce the chance of you having the potential expense of removing any OPM nests.
How do you measure the distance from a tree that was affected last year? Here is one way to do it. Open Google maps and zoom-in to your property. Switch to satellite view using the icon in the bottom-left of the map. Right-click on the tree that you wish to measure from, and then on the drop-down menu select the bottom item - "Measure Distance". Google will put a white dot on the map. Then left-click on the point on your property to which you want to measure. Google will draw a white line labelled with the distance and you will also find that either end of the line can be moved around to measure other distances.