A notifiable bacterial disease affecting laurels has been found at two nurseries in the UK. Xanthomonas pruni, can affect all species of Prunus and was identified by Fera inspectors, whose actions have been criticised by the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA).
Inspectors where criticised for not informing growers of the nature of the visits and for ordering thousands of plants to be destroyed or quarantined. Raoul Curtis-Machin of the HTA commented, “We’ve very concerned about it. It affects all prunus including laurel and ornamental cherries and because it’s bacterial it could be spread by up to 2m through rain splash.
“We were concerned that Fera’s first action was draconian, to burn stock immediately and put (plants) into quarantine. From a business point of view, that’s a nightmare and could lead to thousands of pounds of plants being destroyed.”