Prosecutors in southern Italy have halted a cull of olive trees in Puglia, ordered by the European Union over fears of a bacterial infection.
There is no clear link between infection with Xylella fastidiosa and the dessication symptoms affecting trees in the area, authorities claim.
Ten people in Puglia have been placed under investigation over their handling of the outbreak.
Italy is the EU's second biggest producer of olive oil.
Disease 'major threat' to EU olives
"We have found trees not affected by desiccation which tested positive for Xylella, and dried-out trees which tested negative," Lecce prosecutor Cataldo Motta said.
Those accused are being investigated for violations including spreading a plant disease and the destruction or disfigurement of natural beauty.
The European Commission says Xylella is one of the biggest disease threats to plants worldwide.
There is no effective treatment for infected plants and Commission regulations say the only solution is to destroy them and establish Xylella-free buffer zones around them.