Buyer Beware… Sudden Oak Continues to Spread
Sudden Oak Death continues to rear its ugly head across the United States. This disease, which affects around 100 host plants, is devastating to both nurseries as well as landscape plants.
In the latest report, confirmed in Ohio, regulatory officials projected that there could be as many as 1,600 infected plants that were distributed to box stores in the state.
18 States Received Infected Host Plants
So far, the USDA/Aphis has estimated that plants that originated from the Pacific Northwest have been distributed to eighteen states. Not all states have reported infection, but many are expending resources to keep a vigilant eye out for infected plants.
The state of Minnesota just recently issued an advisory, explaining that Phytophthora ramorum is responsible for killing thirty to forty-five million oak trees in coastal forests. Although it has not yet discovered infection, the state is asking consumers that have purchased Rhododendrons to inspect their plants vigilantly for this disease.
A clear symptom is large brown blotches on leaves and stems, causing them to shrivel and turn brownish-black. MDA plant pathologist Michelle Grabowski says this disease could still significantly impact Minnesota’s vast oak forests if escaped from an infected Rhododendron.
In Ohio’s case, Walmart and Rural King stores have volunteered a recall to retrieve sold plants to minimize any potential spread or impact. They are asking participants to watch for symptoms and dispose of Lilac and Rhododendron plants purchased between March and May this spring.
Plants can be disposed of via burning or double bagging and disposing in a landfill. Additionally, nurseries in quarantined states are supposed to abide by 34 Best Management Practices to prevent the spread of this disease, otherwise problems may arise.
It’s Time For A Systems Approach To Avoid Ecological Trauma
A high sense of vigilance is required when shipping any plant out of a quarantined area for pests or diseases. It is terrible that this disease made its way through the growing and shipping chain without being noticed.
It is apparent that steps were missed. This mess is now affecting almost half of the United States. Evidently, knowing what to look for in the event of a breach could have prevented the sale of infected plants this spring.
Now, there is a strong need for growers to embrace the Systems Approach for Nursery Certification.
How Does Plant Sentry™ Work?
The Systems Approach for Nursery Certification focuses on the best growing practices from start to final shipment, including treatment protocols.
Plant Sentry™ is a tested compliance tool that blocks the shipment of plant materials in and out of quarantined or restricted areas.
Plant Sentry™ verifies that growers are compliant with current regulations, and it is highly vigilant of treatment protocols.
The compliance tool works for both shippers and purchasers of plant material.
The one-two punch of these systems approaches is proven to give both consumers and growers utmost confidence that healthy plants are being shipped.
Plant Sentry™ works with growers day in and out to win the battle against awful pests, disease, and invasive species.
Now is the time. Contact us today to learn more about getting started.
Ohio Department of Agriculture
Minnesota Department of Agriculture