As the year draws towards a close and darker nights arrive, there's doom and gloom in the campo; the terrible trio are with us and sending shivers down the spine! I've written before individually on them but some of these articles were some time back and the threats are so great that I think an update would be useful to us all.
THE TERRIBLE TRIO: the 'ebola' of the olive trees; the black weevil/picudo negro of agaves and red weevil/picudo rojo of palms.
Xylella fastidiosa, known as the ebola of the olives, is the most recent and its effects have not yet been seen here but we all have good reason to be terrified of it. It is a bacteria that, at the moment, has no cure and can affect over 300 species, some of the most important being olive, orange, lemon, almond, grapevine, avocado, peach, nectarine, plum, pear, blueberry and ornamentals such as oaks, elms, sycamores, plane trees, oleander and rosemary. Some will simply be carriers of the bacteria and show no signs of the plague but they are a great threat to important crop trees. Insects as varied as scale insects, aphids, mosquitos and cicadas are all thought to be vectors, passing the bacteria from one plant to another. But, as usual, it is man (and woman!) that is doing and has done the main damage. The transport of live plants worldwide is a huge and profitable business; some of this plant material is infected.