Introduced Pests Outreach Project
Pest Alert: Sudden Oak Death found in New York (July 7, 2004)

A mature Northern red oak tree (Quercus rubra) in a forested park in Nassau County, New York has tested positive for Phytophthora ramorum, the pathogen causing sudden oak death. This tree was discovered during a joint USDA/APHIS/PPQ (United States Department of Agriculture/ Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, Plant Protection Quarantine), US Forest Service, and NY Department of Agriculture survey. Further surveys are underway to determine if P. ramorum is present in more plants at the Nassau County site or in other locations in New York. USDA, APHIS, PPQ is working to determine the best regulatory action in response to discovering sudden oak death in the natural environment in the Northeast. This is the first time P.ramorum has been found in a natural area outside of the quarantine areas in California and Oregon.

Massachusetts is in the process of surveying for sudden oak death. Inspectors from the Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources are collecting samples from nurseries and plant pathologists from the University of Massachusetts will analyze them as part of the USDA Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey. The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation and the U.S. Forest Service are surveying natural areas in Massachusetts. When the samples have been processed, we will be sending out a pest alert with the results of the survey.

Surveys around the country have confirmed 140 positive locations in 19 states. 118 locations in 16 states tested positive when tracing plants shipped from the wholesaler, Monrovia Nursery in Los Angeles County, California. The numbers of nurseries or garden centers with positive trace forward samples from Monrovia are California (43), Alabama (3), Arkansas (1), Florida (6), Washington (11), Oregon (9), Texas (10), Colorado (1), Georgia (13), Louisiana (5), Maryland (1), North Carolina (9), New Mexico (1), Tennessee (2), and Virginia (1). One positive residential sample in South Carolina was linked to Monrovia. In addition to the trace forward surveys, positives have been found during national survey efforts across the nation. In the western region seventeen facilities in California, Washington, and Oklahoma tested positive for P. ramorum. In the eastern region Maryland and New Jersey each had one positive facility.

Phytophthora ramorum has a broad host range infecting about 50 species in 15 different plant families. 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.

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 ( for more information on Sudden Oak Death and other emerging pests or to subscribe and unsubscribe for pest alerts.


Massachusetts Department of Agricultural Resources
Massachusetts Introduced Pests Outreach Project is a collaboration between the Massachusetts Dept. of Agricultural Resources and the UMass Extension Agriculture and Landscape Program. This website was made possible, in part, by a Cooperative Agreement from the United States Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS). It may not necessarily express APHIS' views.