As I am starting a Horticultural business, I thought it prudent that I familiarise myself with the industry trading body, the HTA.

Unlike many trade bodies, they are very encouraging and supportive of “Joe Public” and value the “everyday Gardeners'” opinions in most of the research that they do.

As part of my subscription, I am pivvy to certain information which may not ever get passed down through alternative channels.

The HTA have released a HIGH RISK Plant Disease Alert covering the whole of the UK.

A  new strain of Xylella fastidiosa, a bacterial disease, could have a wide and damaging impact on our urban landscapes and countryside.  The EU is apparently on high alert and we need to be especially vigilant here in the UK.

Below are images of the impact of Xylella fastidiosa:


The disease initially struck in Italy and caused devastation to Italian Olive crops.  A new cold, tolerant strain (linked to Xylella fastidiosa multiplex subspecies) appeared in France and Corsica recently.

Xylella fastidiosa  has caused widespread damage in the USA and South America, affecting up to 35% of urban plantings in the New Jersey area and causing severe damage to citrus, coffee and olive production.

The HTA state they can not accurately predict what will happen if we get a UK outbreak, because of the complex interaction of climate, host species and methods of spread.

A “alert” has been sent out to all mainstream growers in the UK raising awareness of the disease and how they can ensure that they are trading, selling and planting disease free stock.