What is the threat?
Xylella fastidiosa is one of the most harmful bacterial plant diseases in the world and affects many of the most popular landscape and garden plants. It can cause severe losses in a wide range of hosts and there would be a massive impact on the wider landscape, as well as the plant trade across all business sectors in the event of an OUTBREAK in the UK.
An OUTBREAK of this disease, where several different plants are infected, will trigger immediate stock destruction within 100 metres and a movement ban of host plants within a 10-kilometre radius for up to five years. This will dramatically and immediately affect most plant selling operations and landscape construction sites, as well as impacting on all businesses dealing in plants within the 10km zone. Gardens could also be affected. These are non-negotiable emergency EU measures which cover all people dealing in plants professionally, INCLUDING LANDSCAPERS.
What should landscapers do to stop it coming into the UK?
Only buy potential host plants from trusted wholesale nurseries who know where their plants come from, and who operate the plant passport system. If you source plants directly from other countries, you will have to register with the Plant Health authorities to be able to continue importing host plants. Your local APHA Plant Health and Seeds Inspector or the PHSI can help with guidance on Tel: 01904 405138 or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
“We have taken the decision NOT to knowingly purchase any host plants originating from regions where the disease Xylella is known to exist. The decision has been taken after detailed consideration as to the potential catastrophic impact the introduction of the disease could have to the UK environment, coupled with the ever-increasing number of host plant genera of this disease. This is in line with DEFRA’s good practice recommendations.
The APL and HTA are aware that this is a minimum standard and therefore individual businesses are encouraged to develop their own policy for managing the risks posed by Xylella fastidiosa.”
Current outbreak areas can be seen at: http://ec.europa.eu/food/sites/food/files/plant/docs/ph_biosec_legis_list-demarcated-union-territory_en.pdf
The list of host plants is growing and includes many popular garden and landscape plants, the highest risk being lavender, rosemary, prunus, olive, oleander and polygala.
Xylella Five Point Plan
We suggest that all those involved in the commercial supply and receipt of host plants should:
- Only buy potential host plants from trusted wholesale nurseries who know where their plants come from, and who operate the plant passport system.
- Keep records of plants you buy and use, including where they’re planted and when, in case the disease is found.
- If sourcing direct from other countries, visit suppliers to view their processes, biosecurity arrangements and the plants they grow.
- Make sure that these plants come from disease free areas. Details on infected areas can be found here.
- Comply with the UK national requirements to notify the UK Plant Health Service about certain species of plants under the ‘EU Plant and Tree notification scheme’.