Leading UK tree grower joins call for import ban to stop Xylella

Majestic Trees managing director Steve McCurdy says a complete ban on the movement of any host plants from areas of Europe know to, or feared to have Xylella is the only way to stop the disease coming into Britain.

Steve McCurdy
Steve McCurdy

He adds that importers should still be allowed to bring host plants in from areas of Europe that are free of the disease, but that they must have papers that prove that they were grown on the nursery they are being purchased from, or in the case of trees to have been on the said nursery growing for a minimum of 12 months, and certified to be free of the disease.

McCurdy said any nursery breaking these rules would be banned from exporting plants to the UK, to ensure that the huge financial incentives there will be to sell their infected stock, or trade another nursery's stock from the affected regions, will be too risky for them to take in the long term.

He believes that no traders should be allowed to sell any of these host plants to the UK - only legitimate nurseries.  

Virtual nurseries, garden designers, landscape contractors and the public should be included in the ban with penalties imposed for breaking the rules up to a maximum ban on importing, he added.

A confidential hotline should be put in place for reporting violations, as well as more active customs at airports and ports.

Johnsons of Whixley has revealed that it has stopped bringing in plants from several Xylella host countries.  The HTA has issued a statement from some growers and garden centres taking a stance on preventing the disease entering the UK.


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