How Wyevale Nurseries are tackling plant disease and boosting biosecurity

Garden traders work hard behind the scenes to ensure their products are disease-free and contribute towards biodiversity – something which is often unseen by the customer. Kyle Ross, plant health coordinator at Wyevale Nurseries in Hereford, offers an insight into his role and how the company are contributing to a nationwide scheme to achieve their goals…

How long have you worked at Wyevale Nurseries?

I joined the company in 2016 as part of Wyevale Nurseries’ Management Trainee Scheme. This was the perfect step into the production industry after completing my degree in horticulture at Worcester University. After 14 months I entered my role as the company’s Plant Health Coordinator in which I focus on all aspects of biosecurity, pest and disease and plant quality.

Have you worked in any different roles within the company?

As a management trainee I completed three-month stints in all areas of the business including crop protection, propagation and sales and finance to name a few, as well as a few months at each of our trees and transplants divisions. This really gave me a feel for how the business works and the effort and skill that goes into producing a high-quality product, be it a two-litre herbaceous perennial or three-year-old field grown tree.

What is your typical day at work like?

My day consists of keeping up-to-date with any pest and disease outbreaks in Europe and further afield, as well as any advancements in technology or practices in the industry that could enhance production. I will answer any customer queries regarding plant health and spend a significant amount of time giving talks to both customers and our own staff on hot topics such as biosecurity or the deadly bacteria Xylella fastidiosa.

"Everyone really is ‘passionate about plants’ at Wyvale Nurseries!"

What does Wyevale Nurseries do to make employees want to stay with the company?

Wyevale Nurseries is a fountain of horticultural knowledge and everyone really is ‘passionate about plants’. Being able to have access to this knowledge is vital to my role. Managers and directors are always supportive and encouraging in any task team members undertake, as well as supplying plenty of specialist training that people might require. We are one of a few nurseries in the UK that has a dedicated Containerised, Transplants and Tree Division, so being able to work in all three is a massive plus.

Wyevale Kyle Ross

What has been your biggest achievement at Wyevale Nurseries?

Wyevale Nurseries is part of a group of nurseries organised by the Horticultural Trades Association to design and implement a nationwide Plant Health Assurance Scheme (PHAS), which is designed to mitigate the risks of potentially harmful plant health incidents. I was nominated as the coordinator for Wyevale Nurseries’ participation in this scheme. I collected all the appropriate evidence in preparation for an audit and amended existing protocols to further strengthen our stance on biosecurity.

What would you like to achieve in the future at Wyevale Nurseries?

I would like to see Wyevale Nurseries become one of the UK’s industry leaders in terms of biosecurity and plant health. As pilot members of the PHAS I think this is a very realistic and exciting possibility.


More information on the PHAS scheme can be found here:

To check out Wyevale’s plant health and Xylella policies please visit:

Wyevale photinia bed