Defra Takes Steps To Stop Palm Pest
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced new measures to help protect the UK’s palm trees, after an invasive species of weevil was found in the UK.
If you’re getting some help with your Somerset landscaping this year, you may want to bear in mind that it could be more difficult to source mature palm trees for your garden than in previous years.
The Sunderland Echo reported that, as of 1 January 2018, almost all imports of palm trees from Europe will be stopped. Only palms grown in protected areas, such as an enclosed greenhouse, will be allowed to enter the country.
This is all because the red palm weevil, a non-native species from Asia that has made its way to mainland Europe, is becoming a serious problem, with Defra keen to prevent these bugs from affecting gardens in the UK too.
Many gardens in the UK feature hardy palms, which despite their tropical appearance can do very well in the British climate, particularly in southern regions. You will still be able to buy palms, but are only likely to see smaller trees for sale – and the number of such plants available is expected to fall this year.
Defra explained that, although the red palm weevil presents no threat to people, pets or livestock, it is “known to attack and kill a large range of palm species popular in the UK”.
As a result, gardeners are being asked to keep an eye on their palms and report any signs of these beetles as soon as possible. However, Defra notes it can be difficult to spot early infestations or trees that only have low numbers of the weevils.