Many diseases threaten our crops, garden plants and natural environment. Just like human illnesses, these are spread by germs - bacteria, viruses, fungal spores and the eggs or larvae of insect pests.
These germs often survive in soil and leaf litter, as well as on plants themselves, even if they look healthy. They can't move far on their own, but if you carry them with you, diseases can spread much more quickly.
Invasive non-native species, like Japanese knotweed, can also be spread by soil containing seeds, eggs or pieces of root. The following precautions will also help to prevent this and reduce their impact on native species.
How can you help:
To prevent plant diseases spreading, you should try to avoid picking up plant germs, and make sure you don't move them to new areas. For example:
- Park on hard standing if possible.
- Clean mud and leaves off your boots, bike etc before you leave.
- If you have to drive on muddy areas, clean as much as possible off your wheels and wheel arches before you leave.
- Clean footwear and equipment well away from streams, which could carry germs to other areas.
- Don't take any plant material away with you - you could bring infection back to your garden.
For more information please visit www.scotland.gov.uk/planthealth