Sudden Oak Death found in NJ   greentreedoctor
  Jun 04, 2004 15:03 PDT 
TREE-KILLING CALIFORNIA FUNGUS NOW A CONCERN IN NJ From: The state is trying to keep Sudden Oak Death from becoming a household name in New Jersey like Chestnut Blight or Dutch Elm Disease. One lilac bush at a Cape May County nursery recently tested positive for the fungal disease during a 13-county surveillance sweep conducted by the U.S. and state departments of agriculture. The bush was tracked to a California wholesaler. The other lilac bushes surrounding this plant at the Cape May County nursery did not have the disease but were destroyed as a precaution.     The state did not identify the nursery to avoid stigmatizing the business, state agriculture spokeswoman Lynne Richmond said. It was the first time Phytophthora ramorum, commonly called Sudden Oak Death, was found in the Garden State.

    "There are 13 counties in California with the disease. In the most severely impacted, Monterey, Sonoma, you'd be hard-pressed to find someone who does not know what it is," Katie Palmieri said. Palmieri is a spokeswoman for the California Oak Mortality Task Force. Sudden Oak Death has cost California millions of dollars in lost business and surveillance to stop its spread. More than 1,500nurseries were affected with quarantines, testing or other regulation. Some lost more than $1 million in business, Palmieri said. In at least one case, an outbreak of the fungus forced a wooded campground to close temporarily, she said. "The trees were so unstable. It proved to be a huge property liability," she said. 

The dead trees also pose a fire hazard. California has removed many dead or dying trees in wooded areas near homes, Alameda County biologist Ken Peek said. "More people are building near woods, so the fire hazard has been an immediate concern," he said. Scientists identified the fungus in the mid-1990s. Scientists are not sure how the fungus could affect eastern oak trees, Peek said. "The other concern is back East you have a lot of oak forest with many more varieties of oak. There is a big concern about whether this thing could cause quite a problem," he said. "We're not sure what the risk is between a nursery setting and the woods, but people want to err on the safe side." 

New Jersey was not the first eastern state to see the disease recently. So far this year, Pennsylvania and Maryland have identified the fungus, said Carl Schulze Jr., director of the New Jersey Division of Plant Industry. "The disease leapfrogged across the country through the shipment of infected nursery stock," he said. "We're taking a cautious step hereto do surveys of our nurseries and woodlands to see if the disease is here, has been a minor disease here or whether this is a new problem forests may face." Several shrubs and flowers serve as host to the fungus, which causes leaf spots or twig die off. But oak trees are especially susceptible. The disease has killed thousands of California's black oaks, tanoaks and coast live oaks. "It will girdle the tree, physically cut off the transportation of food and water. You'll see this browning of the leaves and a fairly rapid decline," Peek said. 

Despite the disease's name, the fungus usually takes more than a year to kill a healthy tree. But the final browning and die off of leavescan take just a few weeks, which accounts for its name. California and New Jersey have done a good job informing Cape May County's nurseries about the disease, said Stan Sperlak, owner of Cape Shore Gardens in Middle Township. "We're in good hands when those companies are doing research and education," he said. "We get faxes and letters daily about whether plants that have been quarantined are cleared. We here in southern New Jersey are fairly safe." The state said local homeowners should feel confident about buying plants from any of the Cape May County nurseries. Just one plant of2,100 samples taken in 13 counties tested positive. "There should be no concern about people buying local stock from their nurseries," Schulze said. 

Re: Non-native invasive update: SOD now reported in 17 states   greentreedoctor
  Jun 07, 2004 17:36 PDT 
Trace-forward surveys from nursery shipments are still underway, and the national survey continues. Of the trace-forward, national, and other surveys conducted to date, 125 nurseries in 17 states have had P. ramorum detections. Positive findings by state are: CA(45), AL(3), AR(1), FL(6), WA(18), OR(9), TX(6), CO(1), GA(13), LA(6), MD(2), NC(9), NM(1), TN(2), PA(1), NJ(1), and VA(1). In all, 787,842 plants have been destroyed (June SOD newletter).

Re: Non-native invasive update: SOD now reported in 17 states   greentreedoctor
  Jun 08, 2004 15:06 PDT they yet have any ideas where SOD came from?

Sudden oak death - a non-native plant disease whose origin is still unknown - is caused by Phytophthora ramorum, a fungus that invades susceptible trees through the bark, killing all or parts of the tree, sometimes rapidly.

The pathogen is not a fungus or a bacterium, but a member of a unique group of organisms called Oomycetes. Oomycetes share some characteristics of fungi but are biologically different..
The American strain of sudden oak death was found for the first time in 1995 in Mill Valley, California.     

Since May 2003, the European strain of sudden oak death has been detected in nurseries in California, Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, Canada. However, there is no evidence that the European strain has moved beyond the nursery environment.

The origin of sudden oak death is unknown
Plant pathologists do not know where the pathogen originated, but the disease is spread naturally and artificially.

a.. In nature, the pathogen is spread through the movement of water in the form of rain, mist, dew and runoff.
b.. Humans spread the disease through the movement of infected nursery stock, firewood and soil on the bottoms of shoes and boots