Biosecurity and Xylella: Training Day

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 situation, this event has been cancelled.

10.00-16.00, Monday 29th June 2020 at National Trust Gibside

FREE event but booking required (please ignore reference in the link to payments – this is not relevant to this event).

Forest Research, the RHS and The University of Sussex are working together on a project called BRIGIT. This project aims to enhance surveillance and response preparedness for Xylella fastidiosa, a dangerous plant bacterium threatening hundreds of species of plants in the UK.

We are offering free training to individuals keen to protect the environment and UK horticulture from this potentially devastating plant pathogen. Training will be provided in four key areas: general biosecurity, and identification of Xylella hosts, symptoms of infection and insect vectors.

Xylella causes disease in plants by colonising the xylem (water transport vessels) and blocking the uptake of water. Common symptoms include leaf scorch, wilting, stunting, dieback which often leads to plant death. On this course we will cover the symptoms to look for on high risk trees and ornamental plants.

Insect vector identification will focus on froghoppers (spittlebugs) and the leafhoppers which feed on xylem fluid, transmitting the bacterium between plants. Participants will be given detailed knowledge on how to distinguish these insects in the wild, so that they can use their knowledge to partake in a citizen science survey on iRecord. This survey will map insect vector and host distribution providing us with information on how Xylella might enter and spread in the UK.

It is vital we act now to improve knowledge on biosecurity to prevent outbreaks but also understand how to mitigate damage should the bacterium arrive in the UK.

The training day will be hosted by The National Trust at Gibside on 29th June (10:00 – 16:00). Participants will spend the morning listening to talks followed by an afternoon practical session.