The health of our trees and forests is at risk from tree pests and diseases. These can upset the delicate ecosystem balance and kill off large areas of woodland.

The pests and diseases are spread via the mud and debris on shoes, paws and tyres, so it is important that we do everything we can to make sure that we do not inadvertently take infected soil from one area to another.

Forestry and Land Scotland is doing everything it can to tackle these challenges, but we need to help as well. Check out their 'Keep it Clean' video:

What you can do to help protect our trees

Luckily, there are little things we can all do to slow the spread of anything harmful, and help keep our forests healthy and beautiful...

Keep it clean

Shine your shoes. Arrive in the forest with clean walking boots and you'll be sure you aren't transporting dirt from anywhere else you've been on your travels. After your visit, the simple act of knocking your dirty boots together to get rid of any dirt can prevent mud and other forest debris being transported. Don’t forget little boots too – teaching children about the importance of arriving in the forest with clean boots or cleaning up before they leave can set good habits to last a lifetime.

Clean your bike tyres

Keeping your bike tyres free of dirt and debris will do more than simply keep your bike in pristine condition. Arriving in the forest with clean tyres can prevent the spread of tree diseases too. Don't forget, if you’re coming down from the exhilaration of a thrilling mountain biking session at Glentress, you can use the bike wash station there before you head off home.

Wipe those paws

If you're planning lots of walkies, it's a good idea to make sure your pooch is clean before you arrive at your next destination. Give your dog a good clean with a towel and try to get rid of as much dirt as you can before you leave one forest and head to another.

Don't take it home

Tempting as it is to take a pretty leaf or lovely acorn home with you as a memento of your day, anything organic is best left in the forest. At least you know there’ll be plenty more to discover when you return!

Keep it clean

It's not just forest diseases that you can help control

Clean your boats, boards, paddles and wetsuits

If you're in the water give everything a clean afterwards, boats, boards, paddles, wetsuits etc before going to a different destination. Not only is this good practice for your kit, it can help prevent the spread of things like blue green algae and the transfer of non native species.