Olive Trees in Danger

AND Dead OlivesDo you have olive trees? Well, this will interest you: the arrival of Xylella fastidiosa in Andalucia, bringing with it devastating affects.

The Head of the Agricultural, Fishing and Rural Development Department belonging to the Junta, Rodrigo Sánchez Haro, announced this Wednesday that the Junta has begun to “exerscise extreme vigilance” in order to prevent Xylella fastidiosa hitting Andalusia crops.

This announcement, which was made during a visit to Almeria, came after the discovery of a second case within the quarantined area around Marina Baixa in Alicante where the first case was discovered.

Part of this extra vigilance is being carried out by Seprona (environment department of the Guardia Civil) looking for illegal plant nurseries, especially in the north of Jaén, Almería and Granada. In these illegal nurseries no containment control is exercised and they are certainly not going to announce that they have discovered the disease amongst their saplings if they find it.

The Junta is also dedicating more funds to its laboratory in Jaén as well as the IFAPA centre in Córdoba, which is pioneering in its investigation work.

So what is Xylella fastidiosa? It’s a bacterial disease that has attacked olive trees in the Salento area of Southern Italy causing the Olive Quick Decline Syndrome. It’s also present in the States where it has produced leaf scorch and Piere’s disease in grapevines. It has also hit Brazil attacking citric fruit crops.

Olive Quick Decline Syndrome or OQDS causes the localised withering and desiccation shoots, quickly spreading to the rest of the canopy resulting in the death of the tree. In just over a year up to a million trees were infected in the southern region of Apulia.

The bacteria is spread by sap-sucking, hopper insects that can fly short distances of up to 100 metres. It is the transport of infected saplings and/or the insect itself amongst them, that is the main concern in stopping its propagation; hence the focus on illegal plant nurseries.

You can find out more information on the EFSA webpage on the disease

(News: Andalucía)

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