National Trust warns of Phytophthora epidemic

The National Trust and sister organisation the National Trust for Scotland are warning their respective governments that plant diseases Phytophthora ramorum and Phytophthora kernoviae could be in every garden in the UK within 20 years without effective control.

The organisations have sent a joint letter to environment ministers in London and Edinburgh asking for increased control and funds into research of the pathogens, commonly known as sudden oak death.

Defra, the Forestry Commission and the Welsh Assembly Government consulted this summer on the future management of the diseases and a decision is expected this month.

Phytophthora kernoviae was found for the first time this year on bilberry (Vaccinium myrtillus) in Cornwall and Scotland. Fifteen National Trust gardens and four National Trust for Scotland gardens have seen outbreaks of both diseases, with historic Rhododendron collections being devastated, particularly in Cornwall.

NT lead adviser on Phytophthora Ian Wright said: "The fact that Phytophthora kernoviae has made the jump to heathland is deeply worrying.  It has been estimated that within 20 years this plant disease could be in every garden in the UK and have a severe impact on our lowland and upland heath."  

The joint letter asks that the UK and Scottish governments provide additional funding and support to help understand disease and control its spread.

National Trust for Scotland head of gardens and designed landscapes Jan Haenraets said: "Without concrete action the spread of these diseases poses a real threat to our native plants and species in our gardens, woodlands and heathland.  This would have a serious knock-on effect for the environment and local economies."

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Sargent's solutions - how to avoid the traps of 'professional non-payers'

Be wary of unscrupulous clients who may look for loopholes to avoid settling up at the end of a job, Alan Sargent warns.

Living walls

Living walls

The benefits of green walls make them worth investigation by all green-space professionals, says Miranda Kimberley.

Business planning - improving productivity through training

Business planning - improving productivity through training

How to create a structured training programme for your staff to give your business a competitive edge, by Neville Stein.

Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

BALI National Landscape Awards 2017

Read all about the winning projects in the awards, run in association with Horticulture Week.

-Download the Digital Edition

Are you a landscape supplier?

Horticulture Week Landscape Project Leads

If so, you should be receiving our new service for Horticulture Week subscribers delivering landscape project leads from live, approved, planning applications across the UK.

Industry Data

An exclusive report for HW subscribers revealing the key development trends, clients and locations for 2017.

Products & Kit Resources

Noel Farrer

Founding partner of Farrer Huxley Associates Noel Farrer on landscape and green space

Read Noel Farrer