Our plants are Plant Healthy!

19th Jan 2023

Plant Healthy logo 4

Chew Valley Trees are pleased to announce that we have been granted ‘Plant Healthy’ certification. This means that we have procedures in place to ensure that all plants for sale on our site are free from serious pests and diseases, and our commitment to preventing the spread of plant pathogens has been recognised by the Plant Healthy certificating body.

Tree health and other biosecurity issues are in the news headlines more and more these days. Who hasn’t heard of Ash Dieback, for example? Many people will also have heard of things like honey fungus, oak processionary moth and perhaps Xylella. In the context of global trade, a changing climate and biodiversity adapting to a world shaped by human activity, we need to be on the lookout for any threats that may impact our plants, gardens and crops, as well as animals and ecosystems.

The need to be vigilant with both newly introduced and existing problems is recognised in government policy – indeed a new Plant Biosecurity Strategy has just been launched. Chew Valley Trees is regularly inspected by Defra’s Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate for the presence of pests and disease that we are legally obliged to report (notifiable or quarantine organisms). We also participate in the Plant Passporting scheme to ensure that any trees or growing material we import has passed health checks.

Now, we have decided to go one step further to prove our proactive approach to maintaining plant health, by applying to the voluntary Plant Healthy scheme. This scheme checks that growers have staff trained to identify and flag up suspected pests and diseases on plants, and processes and procedures in place to minimise the risk of spreading any that are found. Following an audit at the nursery, we are pleased to be able to say that we are now accredited!

This is great news as it’s an extra level of protection in place to ensure our stock is healthy, and in prime condition for our customers. It means that anyone buying from us can have confidence that we are absolutely vigilant when it comes to signs of pest and disease. Everyone who works at the nursery is aware of what to look out for; anything suspicious is put into quarantine, and if necessary destroyed to prevent any spread.

By joining the scheme and adopting the Plant Health Management Standard, we are showing our commitment to continual improvement in this area, to safeguard both our business and the wider environment. We can also confirm that Chew Valley Trees meets the requirements of tree planting grant schemes for certified, healthy planting material.

It’s important to note that not all things that live and feed on trees are serious pests, however! You wouldn’t worry about a robin or a butterfly sitting on a branch, nor are many insects or even fungi considered a problem. All trees will host living things that might nibble at a leaf, lay eggs, make the odd hole or spot of discolouration. This is normal life, the beautiful ecosystem we call nature! The key to managing plant health is to ensure that the balance won’t tip towards unhealthy plants that can’t thrive due to parasitic infection etc. That’s why there are certain species of pest we need to look out for, but most critters are pretty harmless and should be left alone.

Plant Healthy is governed by the Plant Health Alliance. Chew Valley Trees has been certified by Grown in Britain

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