Xylella Fastidiosa. It seems this bacterium is unstoppable
The discovery of this plague
Mr. Newton B. Pierce who lived from 1856 to 1916 was California’s first professional plant pathologist. He discovered this pathogenic bacterium which attacks the grapes. It was seen the first time near Anaheim in California and up till today no cure has been found.
There exist many subspecies of Xylella Fastidiosa and it can affect many hosts. In Europe, 359 different species of plant have shown to be susceptible to this bacterium.
These include grapes, citrus, olive, lavender, peach, oak, rosemary and much more. Often the host plant does not show any symptoms but is a reservoir for infection.
If you want to know more about the olive tree, this is your book
Mort Rosenblum, the author of this book, bought a small farm in the Provence, France. There was an olive grove with 150 neglected trees. He was told that these trees were already old when the Sun King ruled France. This famous king ruled from 1643 till his death in 1715. An olive tree can be well over a thousand years old. Imagine all this tree has seen during this long period.
I live in the south of Spain. I read about this first time recently in a Spanish newspaper and I honestly think this is more than unsettling news. Can you imagine the world without trees and plants? Like a desert landscape with no green whatsoever. Fauna cannot exist without its supportive Flora, and the same is valid the other way around.
When in California it has been present for some 100 years and still no solution was found for this plague, it was only a question of time till it would reach Europe. It was first detected in Italy in 2013 in the region of Puglia. The farmers were putting up a fight, not wanting to lose their century-old olive trees, and the authorities acted late. The total cost was on 30.000 hectares, where 1.5 million trees were lost in the end.
This plague has come to Spain
This bacterium attacks olive trees as well as almonds, cherry, fig trees as also grapes and people in Spain were waiting for when it would reach here. In October 2016 it was detected in the Balearic Islands. 3 Young cherry trees from a nursery in Mallorca showed the first signs, then it moved on to the almond trees. This will greatly reduce the almond harvest within a few years, probably by 50%.
This is a pretty short video on Mallorca. It gives you a glimpse of this beautiful island in the Mediterranean Sea.
The drought suffered on the islands and also the abandoning of big farmland has made it more easy for this bacterium to expand itself. On Mallorca, there are 156 plants, 68 in Ibiza, 28 on Menorca, which are host to this plague. To pull out the almond and olive trees and destroy them does not only have an economic impact, it will affect tourism and the island people as such as their landscape which has been known for centuries will disappear.
If they were to follow the urgent recommendation of the European Union these islands would become barren. It is not only the affected tree one has to destroy, but everything growing in a 100m radius surrounding this tree as well. Mallorca has some experience with something similar. 100 Years ago the 40.000 hectares of vineyards were reduced to only 2.500 due to Filoxera.
Also in other countries in Europe, the Xylella Fastidiosa has been detected. In July 2015 it arrived on Corcega, 340 cases up till now. Also in the Provence, there are already 20 cases. In Germany has been 1 case registered up to this date.
It was in a flowerpot with an Adelfa also called Oleander. Along the highways in Europe and especially in the south, you will often see this plant with its pretty white, pink and danker blossoms.
Thousands of years of olive culture
In Spain exist 900 different varieties of olives. All are kept in the bank of the Germoplasma Institute of Agriculture formation. Like this, the thousands of years of olive culture are safeguarded. 25.000 square km and thousands of jobs are in jeopardize. Hopefully, soon a solution can be found as there is the risk of Europe and especially the south becoming like a Sahara.
Here is an easy method how to cure olives. Have a look at this YouTube video.
I wrote this post in August 2017, and many things have happened during these years. 2020 we woke up to the fragility of the worldwide economy as because of the lockdown everything came to a standstill. It is understandable that because of what we are experiencing, the focus is on our health and how our life will be in the future.
I have checked on the latest news.This plague is still spreading and no cure has been found yet. Mother nature needs our help. Here you can read different articles from 2019.
I have made a special page for you. It holds a collection of things I find useful and interesting. Before you leave, have a look at Recommendations.
Source: Sur Newspaper
Photo Source: Pixabay and Private
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