The pathogen causing sudden oak death, Phytophthora ramorum, has been
found outside the quarantine area in California. In
March 2004, two nurseries in southern California,
Monrovia Nursery in Azusa, California (Los Angeles
County) and Specialty Plants Inc., in San Marcos,
California (San Diego County), had Viburnum and Camellia
plants that tested positive for P.ramorum.
P.ramorum has a broad host range infecting
about 50 species in 15 different plant families. The
USDA has contacted nurseries and consumers who received
plant material as part of their trace forward survey.
Over 1200 establishments across the United States
have received plant materials from Monrovia including
four in the state of Massachusetts. Infected stock
has been detected P.ramorum in 102 facilities in fifteen
states: California, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Washington,
Oregon, Texas, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland,
North Carolina, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Virginia.
Specialty Plants, Inc., a web-based retailer, ships
plants all over the country. Two hundred customers
in Massachusetts alone received mail order plants
from them. New regulations were put in place on April
22 requiring that all nurseries in California shipping
out of state must test negative for P.ramorum. For
the most up-to-date regulatory information and a listed
of regulated hosts visit the USDA, APHIS website:
Sudden oak death surveys will be conducted around
the United States. In Massachusetts 25 nurseries will
be sampled this year as part of the USDA Cooperative
Agricultural Pest Survey. Inspectors from the Massachusetts
Department of Agricultural Resources (DAR) will collect
samples and plant pathologists from the University
of Massachusetts will analyze them. In addition the
Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation
and the U.S. Forest Service will conduct a survey
concentrating on natural areas in Massachusetts.
Nurseries are the first line of defense to prevent
this pathogen from becoming established in the Northeast.
If the presence of the pathogen can be detected early,
we are more likely to minimize losses and limit the
spread or prevent establishment of this pathogen.
Look for symptoms of Phytophthora infection
on known host plants received from California. Photos
and descriptions of these symptoms and links to further
information on sudden oak death are available at:
If you have suspect plants, do not move plants or
discard them in the compost pile. Phytophthora can
persist in soil and water, and we do not want to be
distributing the pathogen outside of the nursery where
it may find wild hosts to survive on. Call the DAR
at (617) 626-1779 to report suspect plants.
The pest alert is from the Massachusetts Introduced
Pests Outreach Project, a collaborative project between
the Massachusetts DAR and the UMass Extension Agriculture
and Landscape Program aimed at preventing the establishment
of new pathogens and pests in Massachusetts. Visit
the project website (http://www.massnrc.org/pests)
for more information on Sudden
Oak Death and other emerging pests or to subscribe
and unsubscribe for pest alerts.