The Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) has praised growers for the drop in Phytophthora infection rates, but warned that the disease could strike again as a result of wet weather.
Representatives of the agency spoke at the Phytophthora programme update meeting, which was held in Bristol and stated that “the trade should be viewed as victims of the spread of P. ramorum and P. kernoviae, rather than a source of infection”.
“The nursery trade should be viewed as victims of the spread of the disease from the natural environment,” said FERA Phytophthora project manager, Keith Walters.
“There has been a tendency to see the trade as a major source of infection. The message to the trade is ‘thank-you very much’.”
Speaking of the decline of the disease in 2010 and 2011, he added: “No doubt the determination of the trade to make sure plants are clean has been a major factor. “
Mr Walters added that the weather had helped to lower the number of infections.