Plant Health is now a major concern to all of us in the Horticultural sector from nurseries, growers, and especially our customers. Even His Royal Highness Prince of Wales during the BBC2 Gardeners’ World episode which will be aired on the 18 July, available here, highlights his passion for plant health and biosecurity. He discusses the threats posed by pests and diseases to our native plants and trees and looks at how gardeners can do their bit. The Prince advises gardeners to quiz their plant suppliers and to ensure their suppliers have a biosecurity policy in place.
A serious outbreak of a disease such as Xylella fastidiosa, which is so far not in the UK, could not only destroy a beautiful garden but also put a nursery out of business. With more than 900 pests and diseases listed on the Defra Plant Health Risk Register, read more on Defra here, we all face a bewildering challenge, not only in understanding what quarantine pests and diseases do and their implications for plant husbandry and trade, but also in how it manages its responsibilities in the supply chain.
At Hedges Direct we are committed to operating and working in a manner that promotes good plant health as far as it is reasonable and practicable to do so, by ensuring that relevant plant health regulations are known and understood, ensuring that staff are trained and able to carry out the duties required of them by the Company’s Plant Health Management System and that the Company’s suppliers are selected with due consideration to plant health. This will go a long way to safeguarding our plants, gardens and landscapes and customers will have the peace of mind that the plants they are receiving are disease free.
A plant Passport is required when plant material is brought in or sent out within UK or to other EU Member States, legislation is followed when plant material is imported or exported from outside the EU. Plant Passport inspection records are held and can be made available when required. We use the following website for guidance.
Plant Health Controls
Incoming plant material, (or other materials, especially made of wood, that may be infected e.g. canes, baskets, packing crates, are checked for plant health issues along with the plant deliveries. Incoming supplier plant deliveries are documented with an option for additional comment where any issue can be noted and acted upon.
Traceability to be provided for all plant material handled and allow plant material to be traced back to the original source, as well as forward to identify all the customers a batch has been supplied to e.g. label with week or batch number and ensure labels stay attached to batches even when move around the site.
Plant material regularly monitored for infection. The method of monitoring and recording will be dependent on the crops handled and the plant health risks present. Regular site walks to identify any potential issues which then can be documented and acted upon.
Complaints and Returns
There is a Customer Service team dedicated to deal with complaints or returns arising from plant health issues. Complaints, returns are documented, reviewed with actions to be taken. We will consider the need to inform other customers and / or the Plant Health Inspectorate depending on the level of the health issue identified. All customers have the option to provide a FEEFO review which helps us further identify any issues.