RHS joins group fight against plant diseases

We’ve joined a UK-wide consortium preparing for the possible introduction and spread of a major plant disease threatening into the UK

A consortium of ten leading UK research organisations, co-ordinated by the John Innes Centre, will work to enhance UK surveillance and response to Xylella fastidiosa -  a bacterium known to cause disease in a wide range of plants.

The Xylella fastidiosa research makes up the first phase of a programme of investment into major bacterial plant diseases supported by the UK Research and Innovation’s Strategic Priorities Fund.

More than £17.7m funds the entire major bacterial plant diseases research programme with £4.85m of this aiming to improve methods of diagnosis and detection of Xylella.

Our participation continues our work improving plant health in UK gardens and managing Xylella risk.

RHS Senior Plant Pathologist, Dr Rebekah Robinson says: ‘Xylella fastidiosa is a devastating disease and research programmes such as BRIGIT are crucial to minimise the impact should it arrive in the UK. Our role within the consortium will be to develop resources regarding the botany of high risk hosts, and to support engagement and knowledge exchange with the general public, end users (inspectors, trade bodies etc.) and other stakeholders.’

The group aims to improve methods of diagnosis and detection of Xylella, to identify factors that could lead to its spread, and make preparations to minimise its impact should it be introduced.

A key focus will be introducing and improving best practice in the horticultural trade, to mitigate the impact of any introduction.

More on consortium can be found on the John Innes Centre website

Our plant health policy

We have set six principles to guide plant health practice across the Society. 


Our Plant Health Policy


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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.