Plant Health Policy

Plant Health Policy

Forestart has systems in place to safeguard the health of the seeds we collect, import and send out to customers.

We comply with all government regulations and legislation to ensure plant health remains at the highest standard and that the risk of disease entering and moving round the UK  is minimised.

Regular plant health inspections are carried out by APHA and thus we are authorised to issue plant passports. The  seed collections themselves are assessed for risk of disease as part of the FRM(Forestry Reproductive Material)collection protocols. All seed collections are open to inspection by the Forestry Commission.

There are far less seed borne diseases in trees and shrubs than in agriculture where seed borne diseases such as Onion Downy Mildew, Wheat Smut and Mosaic Viruses can wreak havoc with crops. The risk of disease is even lower where the moisture content is low, as it is in our dried seed.

Seed borne pathogens can cause loss in germination, spreading of plant pathogens to new areas and crop loss, but the best way to manage the risk is by using approved sources of quality seed.

Seed that we import is all from reputable companies; it undergoes any phytosanitary tests required and is accompanied by a Plant Passport where required. Likewise, any seed that Forestart exports undergoes all the statutory phytosanitary tests before it is sent out with the relevant certificates and plant passports.

The seed collections that Forestart undertakes in the UK are either done in house or using known and trusted collectors. Once cleaned and treated, the seed is thoroughly tested in our accredited lab . Anything untoward is picked up at this stage so the suspect batch can be isolated.

With the expansion of our seed orchards and our plantations for cutting material production, we also have more control over the health of the trees we collect from and cuttings we take.

All seed batches are fully traceable.

Specifically:

Acorns are treated for Ciboria.

No Castanea seed is imported because of the risk(small) of the material carrying the Sweet Chestnut Blight fungal spores.

Ash is not sold or moved due to the spread of Chalara.

Seed coming in as berries such as Rowan, Cherry and Holly are thoroughly de-fleshed before being sold to minimise any risk of disease being carried in the fruit. The exceptions to this are Daphne and Laurus nobilis where seed is easily damaged during processing.

Pest risk analyses are regularly carried out – this undertaken by the nursery manager and members of the team. The nursery manager and team keep up to date with plant health legislation and plant health procedures using the government advisory website and also use this to follow the risks/progress of pests and diseases such as Xylella fastidiosa, Phytophthora, Needle Blight, Alder Rust, Oak Processionary Moth, Long Horn Beetle and Emerald Ash Borer.

Forestart has signed up to the HTA Tree and Shrub Conference statement agreeing to ‘not knowingly purchase any plants from regions where Xylella is known to exist’.

Forestart reviews its Plant Health Policy regularly as part of our continuous improvement process.