Its arrival in Italy didn't concern northern growers unduly until we understood the ramifications where it was discovered on our nurseries. The range of plants known capable of hosting the pathogen is large and growing as research continues. A risk assessment carried out by EU authorities produced regulations that appear to demand a ban on the movement of all host plants within a 10km radius for up to five years - enough to put out of business not just a nursery but a whole production area.
Bacteria are renowned for their ability to change and adapt to new situations. Xylella has now jumped from Italy to southern France and the French pathogen is indeed a new strain, a strain apparently capable of surviving further north.
Couple that fact with the ever growing list of plant hosts and the ever growing list of insects able to act as vector, and we have a very serious problem indeed.
No one knows how Xylella will play out - who guessed "sudden oak death" would ultimately devastate our Larch plantations? But we can be sure more plant health issues will follow. When they do, the UK plant trade will have to work to regulations set out by the EU and policed by UK authorities.
Those regulations will be common to all member states but the relationships between trade and national authorities will be unique. It's pleasing to see our relationships in the UK starting to develop in the right way, but there's a long way to go if they're going to become truly effective.
Just how relationships develop from here is largely down to the trade - that process will move on at a plant health conference taking place in York on 17 February. People who think it's important should be there.
Tim Edwards is chairman of Boningale Nurseries
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