Knowledge for a sustainable world

Authors: David Hall, Jerry Cooper

Pest management specialist Jerry Cooper from the Natural Resources Institute's European Union Centre for Integrated Pest Management (EUCIPM) co-authored an informative Q&A article for British gardeners in Wilkinson's Hardware 'Wilko Life' blog, addressing the growing risk of plant disease in Britain.

Together with experts from other institutions such as Rothamsted Research and the University of Reading, Jerry gave advice on the most common plant diseases in UK gardens, what can cause plant diseases, whether plant diseases can be cured, and how extreme snow can affect leaf diseases.

The experts provide useful tips for UK gardeners, for example, Jerry gives advice on how to cope with tomato blight, one of the most common leaf diseases that affects both tomatoes and potatoes when conditions are wet.

There are thousands of plant diseases in the UK, but they can be divided into two categories: parasitic and non-parasitic, or physiological diseases. Whereas parasitic diseases are contagious and can be spread from one plant to another, physiological diseases can be caused by a number of factors, including lack of nutrients, air pollution, harmful chemicals and even incorrect levels of water.

Jerry has over 35 years' experience in crop protection, particularly in the control of major pests of vegetable crops. He delivers training on pest management and production of safe food using Integrated Pest Management (IPM).

The EUCIPM at NRI provides IPM services to farming and horticultural industries to help manage the implementation of EU pesticide reduction strategies, enabling sustainable production of high quality food. The Centre aims to provide concerted application of a range of traditional and modern pest management methods, including chemical, physical and biological ones, to reduce the losses caused by pests and diseases.