Defra Launch UK’s First Plant Health Week

With 2020 being the UN’s International Year of Plant Health, Defra is hosting the UK’s first Plant Health Week from 21 – 27 September. Designed in collaboration with multiple organisations in the plant and forestry sectors, it aims to raise awareness of plant health threats and the actions people can take to keep our plants healthy.

Please see below a press release from Defra.


The campaign will be digitally led, with exciting and informative content being posted by various partners including the Forestry Commission, the Animal and Plant Health Agency, HTA, RHS, The Tree Council, the UK Research Institute, plus many others. Each day of the week will be themed around a key area, including safe sourcing and biosecurity. Please find an outline of the key themes below.

Speaking about the UK’s first Plant Health Week, Minister for Biosecurity, Lord Gardiner, said:

“Climate change and increasing globalisation has huge implications for the health of the world’s plants, which is why in the UN designated International Year of Plant Health, we are holding the UK’s first Plant Health Week.

“This week will help raise awareness of the risks that our plants face, and I encourage everyone – from retailers and nurseries, to gardeners and children – to support this campaign and glean helpful tips on how to keep our plants healthy, by practicing good biosecurity.

“From the biggest forests and national parks, to what we plant in our own gardens, we need to celebrate this beautiful rich tapestry we see in everyday life and help protect the nation’s trees and plants from harmful pest and diseases.”

During the week, please look out for social media content and share amongst your channels, using the hashtag #PlantHealthWeek and #IYPH.

Outline of key themes for Plant Health Week:

  • 21 Sept – we begin the week with content on why plant health matters, what pest and disease threats we are facing, and how government and the sector are responding. We are also launching an innovative children’s plant health activity book ‘Izzy the Inspector’ (copy available on request).
  • 22 Sept – LOOK AFTER your plants – at home and in the garden. We are partnering with RHS to bring ‘top tips’ to the public.
  • 23 Sept – BUYING REPSONSIBLY – Source plants from reputable nurseries and suppliers and check the plant’s origin. We are partnering with HTA in alignment with their ‘million planting moments’ campaign. We will also be relaunching our ‘Be Plant Wise’ campaign to offer gardeners tips on how to prevent the spread and reduce damage of invasive plant species. The key messages for ‘Be Plant Wise’ are to: remind gardeners to choose non-invasive plants and dispose of garden waste responsibly when they are having an end of summer clear out and to encourage garden centres and retailers to sign up to the campaign and order a Be Plant Wise pack for their stores.
  • 24 Sept – DON’T RISK IT – raising awareness to not bring back plants and cuttings from holidays and trips abroad or from unreputable sellers. Doing so risks bringing in a plant pest or disease.
  • 25 Sept – CLEAN YOUR BOOTS – Forestry Commission led content focusing on biosecurity. As an example, the FC remind people to clean your boots before and after going out and about in woodlands and parks to help limit the spread of potentially devastating plant diseases.
  • 26 Sept – LOOK OUT – for any unusual symptoms on trees and plants and report them to the Forestry Commission’s Tree Alert website or the Animal and Plant Health Agency. This will be a Citizen Science day, led by The Tree Council and Observatree, talking about the role of the public in stopping the spread of pests and diseases.

Throughout the week we will also be focusing on the key theme ‘Healthy plants can support a healthy mind’:

  • BOOST YOUR WELLBEING: Get out and about and enjoy green spaces – a local park, woodland or your garden.

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