Plant importer "proceeding cautiously" in light of Xylella risks and palm restrictions

Plant health issues such as Xylella and restrictions on palms and other plants has led to The Plant Yard rethinking European supply.

The Plant Yard's Matt Dixon said: "We’re proceeding cautiously this spring. We're being careful with our suppliers, making sure they supply appropriate paperwork."

He said there was still demand for olives, one of the high-risk Xylella carriers, and he had yet to decide whether they would import or not this spring.

Dixon added that there was a "big question mark" around other high-risk Xylella plants rosemary and lavender from Albenga in northern Italy, the main herb growing area in Europe. He asked: "Is it still worth importing from that region?"

He said there were a lack of alternatives, particularly with herbs. UK production is not available until May.

Dixon added: "There isn’t the capacity in the UK to satisfy demand. I don’t know what everyone is going to do."

On palms, he said he had imported some in advance but believes there will be none from Pistoia or Spain this year, though there may be some from Sicily, after new restrictions came in to stop red palm weevil and palm borer.

Other UK importers such as Hortus Loci and Evergreen are looking at supply chains and altering sourcing from Europe this spring.

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