This is a voluntary
scheme run by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
through the Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate.
It aims to promote the production and use of healthy, proven planting
It covers :
- soft fruit - strawberries, berry fruit, currants
- top fruit - apples, pears, cherries, plums
- bulbs - narcissus and iris.
This page describes how the PHPS works. It should be of interest
to those wishing to grow certified material, or wanting to know
about the benefits of using PHPS stock in commercial plantations.
Your Plant Health and Seeds Inspector will be happy to provide
further details (there are special
for each category and grade of material)
and to discuss the PHPS with you.
Purpose of the Scheme
The PHPS aims to provide commercial growers
with planting material descended from stock that is proven both
in terms of health and vigour.
What are the advantages of buying PHPS material?
Material certified under the Scheme is issued
with a certificate endorsing its health status and, if appropriate,
its trueness to variety (see Grades below). We cannot
guarantee that every plant certified under the PHPS will be completely
free from pests or diseases - no practical, cost effective certification
scheme can do that - but PHPS plants are grown under strict conditions
which provide valuable plant health assurances.
How does the PHPS work?
Material entered into the Scheme must
be of known lineage, except that entered at the very lowest
grade (Approved Health). All material
must be grown under specific conditions with regard to
site and isolation from other crops. During the course
of the year, the crop is inspected at least once by the
Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate (PHSI). The frequency
and timing of inspections vary and are set out in the
special conditions leaflets, as are levels of tolerances
for the different diseases. Assessments are normally made
on the basis of visual examinations, but samples may be
taken for laboratory analysis in order to provide a definitive
The highest grade material is produced
under very strict conditions. It is then multiplied up
through the various grades until it is available for use
by commercial growers (normally at Elite or A).
Crops are entered to produce a specific grade
and will normally be certified in that grade if all the conditions
of the Scheme are met. These grades are normally inspected for
trueness to type i.e. for conformity with varietal and clonal
characteristics (except bulbs). Where this is not possible, a
Nominal (N) grade may be available.
In descending order the main grades are :
- Super Elite
- Approved Health - This grade is available for some
stocks of untested or unknown pedigree. Approved Health
grade stocks are inspected for health and vigour only, but
they must meet similar conditions in terms of freedom from
pests and diseases. The other main difference is plants are
approved rather than certified, although the
documentation issued to growers is similar to that for pedigree
There are minimum husbandry standards which
are generally applicable, such as the need for control of weeds,
pests and diseases, and specific conditions for the type of crop,
for example on isolation distances and particular pests and diseases.
The categories eligible for entry into the Scheme are
described above. In addition, rootstocks and ornamental
varieties associated with top fruit may be submitted for
certification. A table
is available listing the varieties which will be ineligible
for entry at the A-H grade in 2006. Material from other
countries is eligible provided it meets equivalent standards
to the Scheme. A table is available
indicating equivalence of top fruit certified in other
countries. Further tables are available showing the equivalence
of certified strawberry material
and certified Rubus material from
For details about other crops please contact
your local PHSI.
Who can enter crops?
Any grower in England and Wales who can meet
both the general conditions for entry and the specific conditions
for the crop concerned. Your inspector can supply copies of the
conditions leaflets and application forms, and will be happy
to advise you about the Scheme. New growers in particular may
wish to consult their local inspector before entering crops into