Root in the garden center or you risk spreading pests and plant diseases

Britain’s chief plant officer says gardeners should be brave and ask garden centers where they supply trees, shrubs and other plants to reduce the import of pests and diseases.

Imported caterpillars, beetles and fungi, such as the one that devastated ash trees in Britain after arriving in a nursery from the Netherlands in 2012, pose a major threat to agriculture, biodiversity and native species.

Officials estimate that such pests and diseases cost the British economy £4 billion a year.

Nicola Spence said that authorities alone cannot control all threats at airports and ports. She wants the UK to emulate New Zealand, which has a plan for each of its 5 million citizens to be “bio-security”.

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