Xylella blocks the xylem vessels of affected plants obstructing the upward flow of water leading to symptoms including wilts, diebacks, stunts and leaf scorches. The EU is on high alert for this pathogen and we must be especially vigilant as the pathogen has not been recorded in Northern Ireland and a Pest Risk Analysis indicates that it could establish here and have a significant impact. For more information on Xylella fastidiosa go to the Plant Pest Factsheet.
To help protect EU Member States against the introduction of Xylella fastidiosa, EU emergency legislation has been introduced, which includes requirements to protect against introductions from non-EU countries, as well as from those parts of the EU where it is has been detected. This includes a requirement upon ‘professional operators’ to ensure that all ‘host plants’ moving across the EU are accompanied by a plant passport. This applies to landscapers, designers, retailers, growers, suppliers and anyone directly importing plants.
Olive trees (Olea) are amongst the worst affected host plants of Xylella. Symptoms on olive trees include leaf scorch, dieback and eventually tree death. A specific pest factsheet relating to Olive trees has been produced and can be accessed on the link below
There are four recognised subspecies of Xylella fastidiosa and three of these have been identified in infections in Europe. Xylella fastidiosa subsp. multiplex is considered to pose the greatest plant health risk to the UK. The hosts of the three subspecies identified in Europe are now subject to controls which are outlined in the UK Plant Health leaflet Guidance for importers and users of trees, shrubs and herbaceous plants.
You are recommended to read this leaflet and also to keep abreast of the developing situation. Please be aware of the symptoms, look out for signs of the disease and report any suspicious sightings to DAERA Plant Health Inspection Branch by phoning 0300 200 7847, or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Further information on this pest can be found on the UK Plant Health information portal.
The latest list of susceptible hosts can be found on the EU database.