Scientist challenges RHS advice on infected fuchsias

A Food & Environment Research Authority scientist has questioned RHS advice urging gardeners to throw out fuchsia plants infected with fuchsia gall mite, calling it "draconian".

Invertebrate diagnostician Joe Ostoja-Starzewski said: "I think it's rather draconian to say that as soon as you find (fucshia gall mite) you need to destroy all your plants - there's a fuchsia industry out there that needs to produce and sell plants."

Contrary to the RHS advice telling gardeners to dig up, burn or bury any infected plants, Ostoja-Starzewski said fuchsia gall mite can be treated with pruning and pesticides.

He said: "I'd say that if you have large numbers of fuchsia or fuchsia in hedging then controlling fuchsia gall mite is going to be quite difficult. But with small amounts of fuchsia in pots, conservatories and greenhouses, I don't see why you can't stay on top of the problem.Throwing the plants away willy-nilly is not really necessary when you can get on top of it by pruning and using chemical treatments."

RHS chief horticultural adviser Guy Barter responded: "It is true that cutting back and treating regrowth with the only insecticide available to gardeners - Westland Plant Rescue Bug Killer Ornamental Plants - and/or frequent treatment with materials with a physical mode of action such as oil-based insecticides might be effective.

"But the effort, cost and likelihood of disappointing results after doing this lead us, at the moment, to advise replacement for the average amateur gardener."

He added: "Fuchsia enthusiasts might, of course, be more motivated to attempt such control methods to preserve precious collections and we will examine their findings with great interest.

"But research on the situation in other countries leads us to believe the difficulties are great. If or when we find hot spots of infestation, we might review this advice."


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

Papaver

Papaver

These compact, brightly coloured flowers can be very attractive for impulse sales, notes Miranda Kimberley.

Fertilisers Special Report - invaluable nutrition

Fertilisers Special Report - invaluable nutrition

Using the right fertilisers on your crops can make all the difference when it comes to securing repeat customers, Sally Drury advises.

IPM Essen Show Preview - New look for top trade fair

IPM Essen Show Preview - New look for top trade fair

Venue modernisation will mean better display space for exhibitors at Europe's largest trade fair for the horticulture industry, says Gavin McEwan.


Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

Opinion... Gardening needs better promotion

British horticultural firms and organisations have not been the best at working together to promote our industry.

Opinion... A wish list for unblinkered thinking

Opinion... A wish list for unblinkered thinking

Opinion... A wish list for unblinkered thinking

Opinion... A wish list for unblinkered thinking

Generations of ordinary British people have been let down by weak, visionless leaders -- politicians more engaged by the next election than our national best interest.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Tim Edwards

Boningales Nursery chairman Tim Edwards on the business of ornamentals production
 

Read Tim Edwards

Ornamentals ranking

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Top 30 Ornamentals Nurseries by Turnover 2017

Tough retail pricing policies and Brexit opportunities drive the top 30 growth strategies.

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

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.

Peter Seabrook

Inspiration and insight from travels around the horticultural world
 

Read more Peter Seabrook articles