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Sudden oak disease found in rhododendrons in Missouri

rhododendron sudden oak disease
Posted at 6:23 AM, Jul 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 07:23:28-04

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A plant pathogen that causes the tree-killing disease known as sudden oak death has been found in Missouri.

The Missouri Department of Agriculture says it has found ramorum blight on rhododendron plants shipped to some retail nurseries in the state. The rhododendrons were shipped to Walmart and Rural King stores throughout Missouri, as well as the Springfield Home Depot, Stark Bros. Nursery Garden Center and Fort Leonard Wood PX.

Agriculture officials are urging those who bought rhododendrons or lilac plants of the known infected varieties labeled Park Hill Plants from these stores between March and June to dispose of them immediately. There is no treatment for the pathogen.

Affected plants may have wilting or browning leaves, leaf spots and twig dieback, the department said.

Anyone who notices these signs should call the department’s plant pest control team at (573) 751-5505 and begin the disposal process. Plants can be disposed of by burial, burning or double-bagging the root ball and sending to a sanitary landfill, where allowed.

The plant disease has infected plants and trees — and killed oak trees— in California and Oregon, and has also been identified in several Midwestern states.

Agriculture officials said the species known to be affected were shipped to at least 18 states.

Specific varieties of rhododendrons that have tested positive in destination states include:

  • Cat Cunningham Blush
  • Firestorm
  • Holden
  • Nova Zembla
  • Percy Wiseman
  • Roseum Elegans
  • Wojnars Purple.

Specific varieties of lilac that have tested positive in destination states include:

  • Common Purple
  • Persian Lime

Sudden oak death poses no threats to humans, animals or food sources.