The Plant Health lab is carrying out studies on the Xylella fastidiosa, seeking resistant species, since this seems to be the only solution to tackle the pest. The research is going slowly, but for the time being, several resistant almond varieties and other species, such as carob trees, have already been identified.
At the same time, other species that have been revealed as especially vulnerable have become part of the catalog of banned crops. This is the case of a dozen varieties of almonds. It is worth recalling that a wide range of woody crops can be affected by the Xylella, and that in the Balearic Islands, the species most frequently hit are of great economic interest. The list includes olive trees, vines or almonds.
In the Balearic Islands, around 12,000 trees have been uprooted, most of them preventively, as it wasn't possible to verify whether they were infected or not.
The manager of Asaja and Professor of Agricultural Engineering at the University of the Balearic Islands (UIB), Joan Simonet, was invited last week by Asaja-Alicante to advise the producers of this Valencian province and to outline the conclusions of the experience with the pest in the Balearic Islands. Simonet warned that the eradication protocol that is being enforced is not even effective, since it does not act on understory plants which can host the bacteria and therefore transmit it again.
The studies carried out are not limited to defining the most and least vulnerable species; they also aim to determine which insects are the most important vectors, while studying the best preventive and curative methods in order to prepare a truly effective global control strategy.
Recently, an agricultural sector delegation traveled to California, which has been dealing with the pest for more than 100 years, in order to study the best strategies against the Xylella. The main goal of the trip was to gather knowledge about treatments against the bacterium, especially regarding fertilization, pruning and soil management.