sudden oak death-please read!
By ELLIOT MINOR, Associated Press Writer Wed May11,2005
ALBANY, Ga. - Plant lovers in the south are being asked to watch their camellias, rhododendrons and other ornamentals for signs of Sudden Oak Death, a fungal disease that has already killed thousands of trees on the West Coast.
U.S. Forest Service officials say the disease - which shows up with spots on leaves and dead twigs - was carried to the region in ornamentals shipped last year from nurseries in California and Oregon. The ornamentals serve as hosts and wind-borne spores can infect nearby oaks, which often die within two years.
The fear is that the fungus could have the same effect on oaks in Eastern states as the chesnut blight did in the early 1900's. Spread by a fungus from Asia, chestnut blight virtually wiped out one of the East's major tree species within 50 years.
"It's a regional concern; it's a global concern," said William Jones, a plant pathologist with the Forest Service's forest health protection unit in Ashville,N.C. "The threat to the Appalachians is basically as large as it was from chestnut blight."
Twenty -three states, including Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Florida, received some of the infected plants. Georgia alone received 59,000 of them and officials destroyed 10,000 after 53 plants tested positive.
But by then, retailers and nurseries had already sold about 49,000 plants.
Those are probably already growing in yards and landscapes, so officials are asking residents to monitor ornamentals for the symptoms and submit samples for testing.
there is much more to this article that i didn't type in(tired fingers) but here are some web sites that were with it.
Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service: http://www.aphis.usda.gov/index.html