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Don’t sneak in plants!

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

Don’t sneak in plants!

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Nature lovers have been warned of the dangers of bringing in plants and ornamentals into the island through the back door.
It came from agricultural officer Michael James as officials from the Ministry of Agriculture’s Plant Protection Department shared some tips with scores of patrons at a plant clinic at the National Conservation Commission’s (NCC) Arbor Day expo yesterday.
The event took place at the NCC’s Codrington, St Michael headquarters.
“A lot of people bring into the island ornamental plants and trees and although they take good care of them, they do not know the problems you can get when you bring in plants, especially when you do not bring them in through the right channels,” James said.
People who sneaked in plants, he cautioned, needed to understand that ornamentals were the same as agricultural plants because the problems they presented could also spread to vegetable crops.
Officials also showed patrons the type of chemicals to use if necessary. 
“If you are going to use them, you need to know what, how much and at what rates to use them,” James said.
He said yesterday’s exercise was part of an ongoing series of clinics where individuals could bring problematic produce or plants and have the team offer remedies.
He said the clinics, which started almost two years ago, saw complaints ranging from plant disease and insect problems to nutritional deficiencies, as well as other issues affecting citrus in Barbados and the Caribbean which the ministry was trying to get a handle on.
The NCC’s grounds were also open to the public to view and buy a variety of trees and plants. Many people got to choose a complimentary fruit tree from among sugar apple, soursop, golden apple, jamoon, guava
and others.
NCC nursery staffer Kerlesta Small-Brewster said the Suriname cherry and gooseberry trees were a favourite with most patrons. She added they also gave away almost 300 fruit trees over the two days of the expo. (LK)